Blog Entry

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Posted on: September 28, 2009 1:40 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2009 1:44 pm
 

The folks in Madison are getting excited.

That's because Wisconsin is one of three Big Ten teams off to a 4-0 start (Iowa and Michigan being the other) after beating Michigan State 38-30 on Saturday.

The Badgers moved up from No. 41 to No. 31 in the latest CBSSports.com 120, one of the largest jumps of the week.

Garrett Graham scored two touchdowns against Michigan State. (Getty)For a team that was projected to finish fifth or sixth in the conference, the Badgers are enjoying their early season success.

"I'm not worried about rankings," coach Bret Bielema said to the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel. "I'm just worried about getting better ... If it gets us ranked, it gets us ranked. If not, we'll just go on and do our business."

And doing business is exactly what they are doing.

One of the biggest reasons for the team's early success is quarterback Scott Tolzien.

The junior, who never started a game before this season and threw only eight passes in college, is ranked 13th in the nation in passing efficiency. To put it in perspective, Kansas' Todd Reesing is 27th, Texas' Colt McCoy is 29th, Penn State's Daryll Clark is 54th and Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor is 57th.

Tolzien is 66-of-99 for 884 yards with eight touchdowns and only two interceptions. He has spread the ball around too as three players have at least 200 yards receiving.

"I love how smart he is, he's making the right decisions, the right looks and knows when to throw it away when he has too," said offensive lineman Peter Konz. "It's really comforting knowing as an offensive lineman that you're not going to have to go chase anybody down for an interception or he's going to scramble, and you might let up a sack."

Wisconsin is playing close games, but this season is winning them. Three of their four wins have been decided by eight points or less. It opened the season beating Northern Illinois 28-20 and beat Fresno State 34-31 in overtime.

Last year the Badgers lost three key conference games by three points or less.

"This is not the same team from a year ago," Bielema said. "There's more accountability among the players. They've done things differently."

Things get real tough for Wisconsin the next three games as it plays at Minnesota (Oct. 3); at Ohio State (Oct. 10); and Iowa (Oct. 17).

Idaho

The Vandals usually find themselves down in the 100-rankings, but have started the season at 3-1. Idaho jumped up from No. 105 to No. 83 this week after beating Northern Illinois.

Idaho has also beaten New Mexico State and San Diego State. Its only loss was to Washington. If the Vandals can keep it going, it might make grab one of the WAC's bowl bids. Idaho hasn't played in a bowl since 1998, when it beat Southern Miss in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Notes

Four non-BCS teams are ranked in the Top 25 with Boise State leading the way at No. 4. TCU is No. 9, Houston is No. 11 and BYU is No. 23. Utah just missed at No. 29. Central Michigan is 3-1 and at No. 46.

Nevada remains the highest-ranked team without a win, checking in at No. 89. The Wolf Pack has had a tough schedule, losing to Notre Dame, Colorado State and Missouri. Those three teams are combined for a 10-2 record.

Washington fell nine spots after jumping up to No. 36. After beating USC, the Huskies moved from No. 80 to No. 36, but fell back to No. 45 after losing to Stanford.

The lowest-ranked undefeated team is Texas A&M at No. 59. Despite going 3-0, the Aggies have the 118th-rated strength of schedule. They have beaten New Mexico (No. 106 and 0-4), Utah State (No. 114, 1-2) and UAB (No. 112, 1-3).

Comments

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2009 4:07 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

I agree minncharger.  Let's say the jury is out on Wisconsin, not that they're a Big Ten contender yet.  After all, before Saturday most Badger fans were getting ready to run Brett Bielema out of town.  A home win against a team that right now would be very lucky to go 7-5 and could very well go 5-7 is not something that completely changes things.



Since: Jan 12, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2009 3:55 pm
 

Terrible Article

look at who they played, Northern Illinois by 8, Fresno St by 3 in double ot, Wofford yes Wofford by 30 and finally Michigan State by 8, all games at home. So if you seriously think that they can win a big ten road game you must not follow college football at all, as the article states they play @Minnesota then @Ohio State followed by Iowa at home. They would be lucky to win one of these games (most likely Iowa, cause its at home!) Wisconsin is yet again is overrated due to a soft schedule, whoever wrote this must have started paying attention to football this year, just looks at scores and is making an extremely uneducated guess as to a surprise sleeper in the big ten season. Wisconsin has fallen back to the middle of the big ten under Bret Bielema and only started 17-1 because he had Barry Alvarez's players and if he was still their coach, I wouldn't be posting this



Since: Jun 25, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2009 3:47 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Wisconsin finally has what it has been lacking in the past couple of seasons, a QB that can make plays. He isn't the most electrifying guy, but he does exactly what Wisconsin needs him to do. A Wisconsin QB needs to convert on third down, be safe with the ball, and make the big play every once in a while. We aren't looking for 450 yards passing and 5 TD's. If he can continue this in the likes of Stocco, Sorgi, Bollinger, we will be in good shape. 



Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2009 3:13 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

i really didn't expect much out of wisconsin this season, and even after starting 3-0, we still didn't look all that great. but the confidence of the team is growing. u can see it in the last game. i think tolzien is the best passer wisconsin has had since darrell bevell. as i was watching on saturday, i couldn't believe what i was watching. wisconsin a passing team? it's unbelievable. i'm still not going to predict a big ten title or anything, but i'm more excited about this team than i have for wisconsin for a while. I think ohio st and iowa will have tough games against wisconsin. it will be interesting to see what we can do against some of the better teams in the conference the next few weeks. GO BADGERS!!



Since: Sep 7, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2009 3:06 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Honestly, I thought the Badgers looked pretty darn good; They don't really have a power rushing attack so they utilize the talent they have a other positions. I thought the QB looked good and they executed well on offense...look forward to seeing them in action this season and hope they can keep it up.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com