By: Aaron Morse 9/6/2022
The Wisconsin Badgers football team dominated, as expected, in week one with a 38-0 victory over the Illinois State Redbirds. However, apparently that was not enough to impress the voters as the Badgers dropped from #18 to #19 in the rankings.
First off, these rankings do not mean too much. In the coaches poll, the Badgers moved from #20 to #18. But still, neither of those polls have any influence on where the Badgers will fall in the College Football Playoff Rankings. Those are completely separate with a completely different room of voters with completely different views on how to rank teams.
With that being said, the Badgers were originally 33-point favorites and by kickoff jumped up to 36.5-point favorites are covered that spread. They handled their business and then some. Yet, voters moved them down. Why? Who knows. But there are some plausible reasons. For one, other teams can impress in week one and a lot of movement can happen because of a more prediction-based preseason ranking, i.e., Florida jumping from unranked to #12. For two, the Badgers did struggle to begin the game and allowed Illinois State to control the time of possession.
Teams do that, though. It happens to a lot of good teams early on. And they rally back and play better. Or in Wisconsin’s case, a lot better.
Another reason, bias. Bias plays a part in these rankings no matter how many times voters say it does not. If say an SEC team like Arkansas or Kentucky (similarly ranked) were to have had the same outcome that Wisconsin had, would they have moved down a spot? Maybe, but probably not. They most likely stay put at their original ranking. But not for Wisconsin; they slip one spot.
Again, these rankings do not matter very much, if at all, in the grand scheme of things. The rankings that do matter do not arrive until November 2nd (after week 9). But it’s still fun to see where your team gets placed after each performance (especially wins) and then subsequently, being upset about them… Unless you root for Alabama.
The Badgers are currently preparing to host Washington State on Saturday with kickoff at 2:30.