It’s about that time folks. On Monday, USA Today released the first Coaches Poll of the year. After finishing the 2021-22 season unranked, the Badgers enter the 2022-23 season at No. 20. They are one of four teams that cracked the polls, while a few others it outside looking in. Here is how the rest of the Big Ten is placed:
- Ohio State Buckeyes — No. 2 Coaches Poll
- Michigan Wolverines — No. 6 Coaches Poll
- Michigan State Spartans — No. 14 Coaches Poll
- Wisconsin Badgers — No. 20 Coaches Poll
- Iowa Hawkeyes —receiving votes Coaches Poll (No. 26)
- Penn State Nittany Lions— receiving votes Coaches Poll (No. 27)
- Minnesota Golden Gophers — receiving votes Coaches Poll (No. 43)
- Purdue Boilermakers —receiving votes Coaches Poll (No. 50)
As previously mentioned, Wisconsin comes in at No. 20, which is about where most people projected they’d be in polls released throughout the preseason. Coming off of a 9-4 season and an offseason that saw many members of a top-two defense depart, this team has a lot to prove. Graham Mertz is entering his third complete season as QB1 and needs to take massive steps forward for the Badgers to be successful and reach their full potential. This year, it starts and ends with No. 5.
To nobody’s surprise, Ohio State is ranked as the top team in the Big Ten and the No. 2 team in the country behind Alabama, a familiar number one. Georgia, Clemson, and Notre Dame round out the top five respectively.
A year removed from a B1G Championship and appearance in the College Football Playoff, Michigan comes in as the first team outside of the top five at No. 6. Their rival to the West, Michigan State, is ranked No. 14.
Iowa and Penn State just missed out on the poll and would’ve been No. 26 and No. 27 if the poll included more teams. Minnesota and Purdue received a few votes each as well. Additionally, one future Big Ten team cracked the polls as the USC Trojans come in at no.15... Caleb Williams effect?
Polls are great, and rankings are fun, but they truly don’t mean a thing until these teams step on the field in September. That being said, it’s great to see the Badgers receiving praise from coaches around the country. Next week, we’ll see where they stand in the first release of the AP Poll.