After the exciting National Championship game that saw an Alabama true freshman quarterback air it out in overtime for the game-winning touchdown, the AP released its final Top 25 poll on Tuesday morning
That’s due to undefeated UCF jumping over Wisconsin for the No. 6 slot after its Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl victory over then three-loss, now four-loss Auburn.
It is hard to comprehend Wisconsin dropping in a poll, especially after its decisive 34-24 win over a resurgent college power in Miami, in what was a road game at Hard Rock Stadium, though it should be noted the AP poll is not the final end all be all poll (hello, College Football Playoff committee rankings).
For the fourth time in the last five years, the #Badgers finish higher in the the final AP Top 25 poll than where they began in the preseason rankings— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) January 9, 2018
2013: 23 ➡️ 22
2014: 14 ➡️ 13
2015: 20 ➡️ 21
2016: NR ➡️ 9
2017: 9 ➡️ 7#OnWisconsin pic.twitter.com/HVrV02daMH
UCF did finish the season with an unblemished record and a win in a New Year’s Six bowl against an SEC program that defeated both the eventual national champion and the national runner-up. Auburn’s four losses did come against CFP-bound Clemson, Georgia and LSU and the Knights.
Now-Nebraska head coach Scott Frost and UCF’s “National Championship” strategy appeared to improve their lower rankings, as they were ranked No. 10 in the prior AP poll before this (No. 12 in the CFP rankings).
Regardless, it was Wisconsin’s first 13-win season, with another Top 10 finish that has already shown itself to keep Wisconsin in high regards in many “way-too-early” polls from various publications.
Five Big Ten teams—Ohio State (No. 5), Wisconsin, Penn State (No. 8), Michigan State (No. 15) and Northwestern (No. 17)—end the year ranked in the AP poll.
[Update: The CFP committee does not meet after their final rankings. Apologies on the discrepancy.]