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Wisconsin has one of college football’s toughest schedules in 2024

Wisconsin enters the calendar year 2024 with hope and optimism that the results will be better than those in 2023.

Yes, the program is technically 0-1 so far with its ReliaQuest Bowl loss to LSU. But the focus is on the 2024 season, one that will either show progress from the team’s 7-6 performance in 2023, or continued stagnation.

Some things are guaranteed to be different. Wisconsin hired a new offensive line coach, Luke Fickell reshaped the roster through the transfer portal and former Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke will lead the team under center. It is those changes people point to as big reasons for a bounce-back campaign.

But the biggest thing to me is continuity. It was clear from the start of last year that Phil Longo’s new offense would take time to work fully — one could argue it wasn’t until the bowl game that we truly saw the offense excel for four quarters. The return of Longo and veterans across the offense means good things for 2024, as at least the team knows what to expect.

Now there is one big issue: the schedule. Wisconsin faces a gauntlet this year with an out-of-conference bout with Alabama and a tough conference schedule.

247Sports recently ranked the toughest schedules for 2024, with Wisconsin among the top 10:

Florida

Oct 14, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Graham Mertz (15) throws a pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 14, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Graham Mertz (15) throws a pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule:

  • vs Miami (No. 28 in final 2023 SP+ ranking)

  • vs Samford (FCS)

  • vs Texas A&M (No. 16)

  • at Mississippi State (No. 62)

  • vs UCF (No. 57)

  • at Tennessee (No. 14)

  • vs Kentucky (No. 22)

  • vs Georgia (neutral site) (No. 2)

  • at Texas (No. 6)

  • vs LSU (No. 11)

  • vs Ole Miss (No. 12)

  • at Florida State (No. 9)

Oklahoma

Nov 24, 2023; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Tawee Walker (29) runs for a touchdown against TCU Horned Frogs linebacker Jamoi Hodge (6) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Terry-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 24, 2023; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Tawee Walker (29) runs for a touchdown against TCU Horned Frogs linebacker Jamoi Hodge (6) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Terry-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule:

  • vs Temple (No. 127 in final 2023 SP+ ranking)

  • vs Houston (No. 95)

  • vs Tulane (No. 59)

  • at Tennessee (No. 14)

  • at Auburn (No. 36)

  • vs Texas (neutral site) (No. 6)

  • vs South Carolina (No. 51)

  • at Ole Miss (No. 12)

  • vs Maine (FCS)

  • at Missouri (No. 10)

  • vs Alabama (No. 7)

  • at LSU (No. 11)

Arkansas

Oct 7, 2023; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels running back Ulysses Bentley IV (24) runs the ball as Arkansas Razorbacks linebacker Jaheim Thomas (28) makes the tackle during the first half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 7, 2023; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels running back Ulysses Bentley IV (24) runs the ball as Arkansas Razorbacks linebacker Jaheim Thomas (28) makes the tackle during the first half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule:

  • vs Arkansas-Pine Bluff (FCS)

  • at Oklahoma State (No. 42 in final 2023 SP+ ranking)

  • vs UAB (No. 117)

  • at Auburn (No. 36)

  • at Texas A&M (No. 16)

  • vs Tennessee (No. 14)

  • vs LSU (No. 11)

  • at Mississippi State (No. 62)

  • vs Ole Miss (No. 12)

  • vs Texas (No. 6)

  • vs Louisiana Tech (No. 112)

  • at Missouri (No. 10)

South Carolina

Nov 25, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers linebacker Barrett Carter (0) sacks South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) during the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers linebacker Barrett Carter (0) sacks South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) during the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule:

  • vs Old Dominion (FCS)

  • at Kentucky (No. 22 in final 2023 SP+ ranking)

  • vs LSU (No. 11)

  • at Akron (No. 130)

  • vs Ole Miss (No. 12)

  • at Alabama (No. 7)

  • at Oklahoma (No. 17)

  • vs Texas A&M (No. 16)

  • at Vanderbilt (No. 110)

  • vs Missouri (No. 10)

  • vs Wofford (FCS)

  • at Clemson (No. 23)

UCLA

Nov 27, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) runs for 17 yards and a first down against the California Golden Bears in the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) runs for 17 yards and a first down against the California Golden Bears in the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule:

  • at Hawaii (No. 123 in final 2023 SP+ ranking)

  • vs Indiana (No. 92)

  • at LSU (No. 11)

  • vs Oregon (No. 3)

  • at Penn State (No. 5)

  • vs Minnesota (No. 63)

  • at Rutgers (No. 56)

  • at Nebraska (No. 66)

  • vs Iowa (No. 47)

  • at Washington (No. 13)

  • vs USC (No. 31)

  • vs Fresno State (No. 60)

Georgia Tech

Oct 20, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Jeff Sims (10) throws a pass against the Virginia Cavaliers in the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 20, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Jeff Sims (10) throws a pass against the Virginia Cavaliers in the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule:

  • vs Florida State (No. 9 in final 2023 SP+ ranking)

  • vs Georgia State (No. 89)

  • at VMI (FCS)

  • vs Notre Dame (No. 8)

  • at Georgia (No. 2)

  • vs Duke (No. 30)

  • vs Miami (No. 28)

  • vs NC State (No. 39)

  • at Louisville (No. 34)

  • at North Carolina (No. 40)

  • at Syracuse (No. 80)

  • at Virginia Tech (No. 46)

Mississippi State

Dec 30, 2019; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs running back Nick Gibson (21) reacts with Mississippi State tight end Dontea Jones (84) and Mississippi State quarterback Tommy Stevens (7) after rushing for a touchdown against the Louisville Cardinals during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule:

  • vs Eastern Kentucky (FCS)

  • at Arizona State (No. 107 in final 2023 SP+ ranking)

  • vs Toledo (No. 53)

  • vs Florida (No. 41)

  • at Texas (No. 6)

  • at Georgia (No. 2)

  • vs Texas A&M (No. 16)

  • vs Arkansas (No. 54)

  • vs UMass (No. 125)

  • at Tennessee (No. 14)

  • vs Missouri (No. 10)

  • at Ole Miss (No. 12)

Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt offensive lineman Levi Harber (72) talks with assistant offensive line coach A.J. Blazek during an NCAA college football practice Tuesday, August 2, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.
Vanderbilt offensive lineman Levi Harber (72) talks with assistant offensive line coach A.J. Blazek during an NCAA college football practice Tuesday, August 2, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.

Schedule:

  • vs Virginia Tech (No. 46 in final 2023 SP+ ranking)

  • vs Alcorn State (FCS)

  • at Georgia State (No. 89)

  • at Missouri (No. 10)

  • vs Alabama (No. 7)

  • at Kentucky (No. 22)

  • vs Ball State (No. 118)

  • vs Texas (No. 6)

  • at Auburn (No. 36)

  • vs South Carolina (No. 51)

  • at LSU (No. 11)

  • vs Tennessee (No. 14)

USC

Mar 1, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; USC football head coach Lincoln Riley attends the USC Trojans and the Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball game at Galen Center. The Wildcats won 91-71. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; USC football head coach Lincoln Riley attends the USC Trojans and the Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball game at Galen Center. The Wildcats won 91-71. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule:

  • vs LSU (No. 11 in final 2023 SP+ ranking)

  • vs Utah State (No. 106)

  • at Michigan (No. 1)

  • vs Wisconsin (No. 29)

  • at Minnesota (No. 63)

  • vs Penn State (No. 5)

  • at Maryland (No. 21)

  • vs Rutgers (No. 56)

  • at Washington (No. 13)

  • vs Nebraska (No. 66)

  • at UCLA (No. 27)

  • vs Notre Dame (No. 8)

Wisconsin

Nov 18, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell looks on during the second quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 18, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell looks on during the second quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Schedule:

  • vs Western Michigan (No. 121 in final 2023 SP+ ranking)

  • vs South Dakota (FCS)

  • vs Alabama (No. 7)

  • at USC (No. 31)

  • vs Purdue (No. 90)

  • at Rutgers (No. 56)

  • at Northwestern (No. 69)

  • vs Penn State (No. 5)

  • at Iowa (No. 47)

  • vs Oregon (No. 3)

  • at Nebraska (No. 66)

  • vs Minnesota (No. 63)

Story originally appeared on Badgers Wire