The first coaches poll for 2014 is out, and Wisconsin is ranked 14th. What say you, Badgers fans? Too high, low or just right? This sounds fair to me, which I'll elaborate on below. Here's the USA TODAY Sports paragraph on UW accompanying its poll writeup:
14: Wisconsin: The Badgers could be in the best position to benefit from the Big Ten's new divisional alignment. Their offensive identity will be established right away, with standout TB Melvin Gordon and capable backup Corey Clement operating behind a physical and battle-tested interior line. Incumbent QB Joel Stave is back, but he'll be challenged by Tanner McEvoy in camp, and breakaway WR Jared Abbrederis is gone. The defensive front also lacks experience, which might not bode well for the opener against LSU.
That fairly sums up Wisconsin's current standing, in my opinion. We're not quite sure who'll start at quarterback, but I'm in the camp that believes at minimum, some combination of Joel Stave/Tanner McEvoy/Joel McEvoy will be good enough to keep the Badgers atop the West Division. Gordon and Clement are primed for excellent seasons behind that o-line... and then everything lies on the defense.
Interestingly enough, Wisconsin's season-opening opponent, LSU, is one spot higher at No. 13.
Not to be forgotten: the coaches poll means less in this College Football Playoff era, so these rankings are largely discussion fodder. The only rankings that matter now are those produced by the CFP selection committee beginning in October. For whatever it's worth, the coaches poll will decide who wins the beloved crystal football.
Also, just for kicks:
Bret Bielema is once again a voter this year and surprise, surprise Arkansas got one 25th place vote.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) July 31, 2014
|Preseason Amway Coaches Poll|
|Also receiving votes: Missouri 126; Florida 122; Central Florida 102; Mississippi State 74; Oklahoma State 56; TCU 54; Michigan 53; Iowa 49; Miami (Fla.) 45; Duke 41; Louisville 32; Marshall 27; Brigham Young 18; Boise State 13; Louisiana-Lafayette 12; Virginia Tech 12; Texas Tech 8; Minnesota 6; Cincinnati 6; Northwestern 5; Oregon State 4; Fresno State 4; GeorgiaTech 2; Houston 2; Arkansas 1; Arizona 1; Northern Illinois 1.|