For a team that's made appearances in the last three Rose Bowls, it's fair to call Wisconsin's 3-2 start disappointing. However, it's not necessarily all that surprising. Many of us writing for B5Q, as well as other members of the media, pinned Wisconsin as a two- or three-loss team this season, which seems to be a fair assessment for a first-year coach with a primarily new staff.
The Badgers have an extremely manageable schedule the rest of the way. You can't ever overlook Big Ten games and prematurely chalk them up as victories, but the Badgers should be favored in every game remaining this season.
So where does this leave us?
After Northwestern failed to upset Ohio State Saturday, the Badgers' already slim chances of catching the Buckeyes in the divisional race became even less likely. As a team with national title aspirations, Ohio State's lone remaining game that stands out is the regular-season finale at Michigan.
With the Badgers probably on the outside looking in for the Big Ten Championship Game and consequently the Rose Bowl, you'd figure UW is instead eying more realistic opportunities to snag a Capital One or Outback Bowl bid.
At this point, the Badgers can still have a very successful season and live up to expectations. Nobody expected the Badgers to make another Rose Bowl, but we instead hoped they could give Ohio State a run for its money, which they did in Columbus. But it's time to move past that game and rethink our expectations for this squad.
Is a two- or three-loss season still fair to expect from this team? I certainly believe so -- especially, considering the mediocre competition that lies ahead. Thus far, head coach Gary Andersen has proved himself capable of leading the Badgers and having them well prepared for gamedays. I expect the same coming off a bye against Northwestern this weekend, a game which could likely set the tone for the rest of Wisconsin's season.
What do you think? Should we readjust our expectations for the Badgers? Are they failing to meet your preseason expectations?