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Wisconsin Badgers ‘just missed’ ESPN’s post-spring top 25 ranking

Wisconsin football was placed in the “just missed” category of ESPN’s college football post-spring top 25 ranking on Monday.

With fewer than 100 days until the 2024 season kicks off, ESPN Senior Writer Mark Schlabach placed the Badgers alongside West Virginia, Texas A&M, Louisville, Kentucky, Washington, Boise State, Air Force and Liberty barely on the outside of the top 25.

Georgia, Ohio State, Texas and Oregon all landed within the top four while 2023 national champion and Big Ten rival Michigan fell to No. 10. Wisconsin’s gridiron competition officially becomes much more difficult this fall with the additions of Oregon, Washington, USC and UCLA to the Big Ten and the elimination of the East-West division model.

UW squares off with USC, Penn State, Oregon, Alabama and Iowa this fall. For reference, ESPN has the Ducks at No. 4, Crimson Tide at No. 7, Nittany Lions at No. 12, Hawkeyes at No. 23 and Trojans at No. 25.

Wisconsin enters this season with notable departures of starting quarterback Tanner Mordecai, running back Braelon Allen and offensive lineman Tanor Bortolini to the NFL. Its wide receiver room, however, is deep and versatile with Will Pauling, C.J. Williams and Bryson Green set to return and lead the room.

On the other side of the ball, Wisconsin’s defensive unit enters 2024 with a preseason SP+ Rating of 13.8, the seventh-highest in the nation.

UW has notably been in pursuit of depth and talent to bolster the defensive line. The Badgers have seen DL targets C.J. West commit to Indiana, Khurtiss Perry commit to Virginia Tech and Jay’Viar Suggs commit to LSU.

Wisconsin was also in pursuit of a playmaker on offense before landing former Boston College WR Joseph Griffin Jr., fulfilling its need for an experienced receiver.

The Badgers’ challenging schedule presents a golden opportunity for statement victories and a rise up the national rankings. That, or the gauntlet can cause the program’s third-straight down season.

Story originally appeared on Badgers Wire