The first reminder that college football is right around the corner is the release of the USA Today Coaches Poll.
The poll was released on Monday morning, and the Wisconsin Badgers debuted at No. 21 in the ranking.
The Badgers were expected to land in the No. 18-23 range in the poll, so No. 21 seems about right.
Other Big Ten schools included on the list are No. 2 Michigan, No. 4 Ohio State, and No. 7 Penn State.
Iowa came in at 26th, just missing the Top 25.
Future 2024 Big Ten members USC, Washington, and Oregon were ranked No. 6, No. 11, and No. 15 respectively.
For the Badgers, it will be crucial to get the season off to a fast start, which is something the team has struggled with in recent years.
In 2021, the Badgers ranked No. 15 in the preseason coaches poll and started the season 1-3 with losses to Penn State, Notre Dame, and Michigan.
In 2022, the Badgers ranked No. 20 and began the season with a 2-3 record including losses to Washington State, Ohio State, and Illinois.
This season, the Badgers' first 5 games are:
9/2 vs Buffalo
9/9 @ Washington State
9/16 vs Georgia Southern
9/22 @ Purdue
10/7 vs Rutgers
At first glance, this doesn’t seem to be an extremely difficult start to the season unlike prior years, yet road games at Washington State and Purdue will be tricky.
Can the Badgers meet their high preseason expectations this year?