As much as most of us are ready to bid the BCS system adieu, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the individual components of the rankings and see where Wisconsin stands, who they need to jump and what those teams have on their schedule. This provides a nice look at the variability in the polls and might offer you some rooting interests in games you otherwise may not care much about.
For each poll I'll give you a look at Wisconsin as well as 4 teams in front of them and 2 behind them to see who they have to gain ground on (and who may be sneaking up behind them) and what the outlook is for that poll. Fair warning, this is bound to be annoyingly longwinded, so read as desired. For the sake of brevity I'll make a different post with rooting interests.
#15 UCLA (1,110 pts) [Next game: vs. #22 Arizona State]
#16 Louisville (1,010) [Next game: vs. Memphis]
#17 LSU (880) [Next game: vs. #10 Texas A&M]
#18 Northern Illinois (864) [Next game: @ Toledo]
#19 Wisconsin (794) [Next game: @ #25 Minnesota]
#20 UCF (793) [Next game: vs. Rutgers]
#21 Oklahoma (746) [Next game: @ Kansas State]
Thanks to Minnesota's resurgence, so to speak, Wisconsin can pick up some ground in this poll without much outside help. I fully expect a win over #25 Minnesota to bump Wisconsin ahead of Northern Illinois, gain ground on Louisville, and pull away from UCF. UCLA will maintain its lead on UW with a strong win over ASU, but ASU could get a nice bump with a win of its own, so don't be surprised if UW does not benefit from that game regardless of outcome. Texas A&M can help out Bucky with a win over LSU, but an LSU win would be bad news. Though LSU isn't a BCS bid contender with so many SEC teams ahead of them, they can be a decent roadblock in this poll with a win.
USA Today Coaches' Poll
#13 Michigan State (729 pts) [Next game: @ Northwestern]
#14 UCLA (700) [Next game: vs. #22 Arizona State]
#15 Louisville (627) [Next game: vs. Memphis]
#16 Fresno State (622) [Next game: vs. New Mexico]
#17 Wisconsin (511) [Next game: @ #23 Minnesota]
#18 Oklahoma (502) [Next game: @ Kansas State]
#19 LSU (478) [Next game: vs. #10 Texas A&M]
Same analysis applies for repeat teams. It's hard to see Michigan State losing to Northwestern, but a win over Minnesota can help gain ground on them. I'd expect a quality win to push UW over Fresno; they dropped in favor of major conference teams with nice wins this week, and I'd expect their movement to be dictated by things like that moving forward. Teams below them that win will jump them, and they will jump teams that lose above them.
Anderson & Hester
#15 Oklahoma (.717 rating) [Next game: @ #47 Kansas State]
#16 Texas A&M (.715) [Next game: @ #28 LSU]
#17 USC (.710) [Next game: @ #72 Colorado]
#18 Fresno State (.705) [Next game: vs. #111 New Mexico]
#19 Wisconsin (.700) [Next game: @ #26 Minnesota]
#20 UCF (.700) [Next game: vs. #68 Rutgers]
#21 Northern Illinois (.696) [Next game: @ #52 Toledo]
Now things get fun because we can start seeing things like schedule strength and comprehensive rankings. This is also where we start to see how Minnesota's surprising success benefits Wisconsin. Minnesota is ranked almost 30 spots ahead of Wisconsin's current SOS (55th), so this will be an undoubtable boost. Outside of Texas A&M, expect Wisconsin to pull away from all of these with a win, regardless of other outcomes. Fresno is likely to sit well below Wisconsin (current SOS at 121st already), and Wisconsin can edge by USC (SOS will drop from current 15th place) and perhaps Oklahoma (should hold steady around its current 38th SOS).
#20 Mississippi (271.178 rating) [Next game: vs. #11 Missouri]
#21 LSU (271.078) [Next game: vs. #18 Texas A&M]
#22 Arizona State (267.606) [Next game: @ #13 UCLA]
#23 USC (266.627) [Next game: @ #99 Colorado]
#24 Wisconsin (266.263) [Next game: @ #26 Minnesota]
#25 Texas (265.480) [Next game: vs. #45 Texas Tech]
#26 Minnesota (260.750) [duh]
This poll is tougher because outside of USC, Wisconsin won't pass anyone without them losing, so your rooting interests are clear. Expect Wisconsin to jump USC with a win and hold its lead on Texas. Obvious Minnesota preference is obvious.
#17 UCLA (.787 rating) [Next game: vs. #10 Arizona State]
#18 UCF (.770) [Next game: vs. #75 Rutgers]
#19 Oklahoma (.757) [Next game: @ #43 Kansas State]
#20 USC (.756) [Next game: @ #82 Colorado]
#21 Wisconsin (.753) [Next game: @ #23 Minnesota]
#22 Duke (.741) [Next game: @ #79 Wake Forest]
Surprise Duke appearance, the Blue Devils are having a nice season and that Virginia Tech win really helped them. They aren't a threat to jump Wisconsin, though. Expect a Wisconsin win to boost them past USC, Oklahoma, and perhaps UCF regardless of other outcomes. A UCLA loss will be more immediately beneficial to Wisconsin in this poll, but it will be interesting to see which outcome is more helpful once all the polls are considered.
#14 Northern Illinois (1.66 rating) [Next game: @ #41 Toledo]
#15 Michigan State (1.64) [Next game: @ #65 Northwestern]
#16 Mississippi (1.62) [Next game: vs. #9 Missouri]
#17 LSU (1.54) [Next game: vs. #13 Texas A&M]
#18 Wisconsin (1.54) [Next game: @ #31 Minnesota]
#19 Georgia (1.52) [Next game: vs. #102 Kentucky]
#20 Oklahoma State (1.51) [Next game: vs. #4 Baylor]
First Georgia sighting, but they won't be gaining any momentum with a win over Kentucky. Oklahoma St. is a big threat in general, they're already ahead of UW pretty much everywhere and a win over Baylor would bump them ahead here and way ahead overall. It's hard to tell if UW will jump anyone without them losing in this one; opponents have better games lined up and this computer doesn't like Minnesota as much.
Dr. Peter Wolfe
#16 Northern Illinois (6.513 rating) [Next game: @ #36 Toledo]
#17 UCF (6.467) [Next game: vs. #77 Rutgers]
#18 Oklahoma State (6.404) [Next game: vs. #4 Baylor]
#19 Mississippi (6.384) [Next game: vs. #8 Missouri]
#20 Wisconsin (6.305) [Next game: @ #32 Minnesota]
#21 LSU (6.207) [Next game: vs. #14 Texas A&M]
#22 Georgia (6.123) [Next game: vs. #123 Kentucky]
Wisconsin could jump UCF here regardless of the Rutgers game outcome. Toledo is surprisingly close to Minnesota in ranking, so a jump of NIU isn't likely this week. LSU could jump Wisconsin with a win, and Georgia will likely drop with such a weak game. OK St. and Ole Miss can separate with upset wins.
#16 Michigan State (85.23 rating) [Next game: @ #75 Northwestern]
#17 UCF (85.15) [Next game: vs. #107 Rutgers]
#18 Mississippi (84.96) [Next game: vs. #9 Missouri]
#19 Texas A&M (84.76) [Next game: @ #21 LSU]
#20 Wisconsin (84.44) [Next game: @ #33 Minnesota]
#21 LSU (82.87) [Next game: vs. #19 Texas A&M]
#22 BYU (82.13) [Next game: @ #31 Notre Dame]
Though BYU can potentially pick up some ground on Wisconsin here, Badger fans will of course be pulling for a win over Notre Dame, keeping UW's best win and overall SOS as strong as possible. Expect a jump of UCF here and maybe even Michigan State, though Northwestern is ranked right where MSU's #78 SOS already stands.
Well that's it, hopefully this paints a Wisconsin-centric picture of the rankings landscape this week. I'll try to make a post about rooting interests some time before the Saturday games. Though some are obvious, namely the teams just ahead of Wisconsin in the composite rankings, we can find some less obvious teams to jump on the bandwagon for the weekend.