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Wisconsin Football: Badgers ranked 18th in first AP Poll release

Where does the rest of the Big Ten stack up?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 Nebraska at Wisconsin Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The first AP poll of the 2022 season was released today. The weekly poll featured four Big Ten schools including Wisconsin, which checked in at #18. The Big Ten sits as follows heading into week one of the college football season.

  • #2 Ohio State (6 first-place votes)
  • #8 Michigan
  • #15 Michigan State
  • #18 Wisconsin

Many Big Ten teams were on the outside looking in as well. Iowa, Penn State, Minnesota, and Nebraska also received votes but did not make the top 25.

As expected, Ohio State comes in ranked 2nd, while also receiving six first-place votes. They are the clear favorite to win the Big Ten and also a favorite to make a push for another national title. Future Big Ten member USC checked in at number 15, having done nothing to prove they are worthy of any ranking. If we are going to hand out false rankings, we might as well include Texas too. And what the hell is Miami doing so high? Anyway, none of this matters all that much and we generally see the same collection at the top, followed by the second and third tiers with a few dark horses sprinkled in throughout.

For the Badgers, 18 seems like a fair jumping-off point for the 2022 season. Wisconsin returns one of the nation's top running backs in Braelon Allen, their starting QB in Graham Mertz, and an offensive line that should be improved. Despite losing key guys on defense, the Badgers appear to have reloaded at key positions and return starters in outside linebacker Nick Herbig and nose tackle Keeanu Benton. The expectation outside of Madison seems to be that the Badgers will be improved this year after finishing outside of the top 25 in the final poll of 2021. To what extent? We’ll find out in just under 3 weeks.