Wisconsin Football came into 2016 with many doubting their chances to have success, but as usual the Badgers rallied around tradition and finished the season on a high note headed into 2017. The Badgers finished in the top ten in the final AP Poll ranking, marking the highest final ranking since the 2010 season. The Badgers have much to be proud of for their effort in 2016 with a Big Ten West title, and a Cotton Bowl Championship to end it. However, at the end of the season everyone other than one team is left wanting more. There are things to build on headed into 2017, and its never too early to see where Wisconsin Football stacks up in an early look at the projected rankings for next fall.
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After looking at a multitude of early 2017 projections, it was hard to determine just exactly where the Badgers would fall next season. In many of the preseason rankings the Badgers came in anywhere from 9-17, which to me is a fair assessment. Obviously its all speculation, but the Badgers seemed to be all over people’s boards, so I decided to come up with an unbiased prediction of my own.
All in all, I ranked the Badgers at 12 in the Way Early Rankings of 2017. While the Badgers have quite a bit of talent coming back, there seemed to be a few blue bloods that Wisconsin will have to surpass in order to climb the rankings next season. Teams like Florida State and USC come into next season loaded, and clearly two of the top three teams in College Football, while teams like Alabama and Clemson lose a lot of talent that will have to be replaced, but still demand respect.
Wisconsin will come into 2017 somewhere in the top 15, along with the other Big Ten teams that they contended with this season. Ohio State and Penn State both return a ton of talent making them top 5 in the early stages on paper. Based on schedule, the Badgers could be set up for another Title showdown with one of those two teams.
All in all, its fair to put the Badgers in that 10-15 range simply because there are still a lot of unproven aspects of this team, and they don’t flash on paper like many blue blood programs do. The potential to be great is there, but Wisconsin Football will have to continue to prove that again next season.