Wisconsin is not having a good September.
The Badgers almost lost to Northern Iowa at home, did lose (and were nearly shut out) at Oregon State and then held on for a two-point win Saturday when Utah State missed a 37-yard field goal in the final minute. Wisconsin fired its offensive line coach after Week 2 and now has a quarterback controversy. Nothing that has happened this month should lead anyone to believe Wisconsin is one of the 25 best teams in college football.
Yet, it still makes one top 25 poll.
Wisconsin showed up at No. 24 on the USA Today Sports coaches poll. There's only one explanation, and it's not a good one: The Badgers were in the poll to start the year. There's no other conceivable reason for anyone to vote for Wisconsin right now.
Before the season Wisconsin, coming off back-to-back Big Ten titles, was ranked 12th. Voters often take the previous poll and move losing teams down and winning teams up, instead of shaking the Etch-A-Sketch and starting over. Which is why preseason polls should be done away with.
The flip side of this inanity is Northwestern. The Wildcats won at Syracuse, then beat Vanderbilt and Boston College. That's not a perfect resume, but it's unquestionably better than fortunate home wins against Northern Iowa and Utah State sandwiched around a loss to Oregon State. Yet, Wisconsin remains ranked ahead of Northwestern.
Maybe the Wildcats should get Wisconsin's spot in the top 25. And if not Northwestern, some other team should. There's plenty of more deserving candidates than the Badgers.