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Roasting Teams Around the B1G Conference After Week 1



Big Ten Football
Sep 10, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Big Ten logo on sideline markers prior to the game between the Washington State Cougars and Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of real college football was a great one. There were upsets, fantastic finishes, and THEY BROUGHT BACK THE OLD BIG TEN MAP MUSIC! Finally, our long national nightmare is over. With the addition of four west coast teams next year, this may be the last season of this commercial that we all know and love. If that’s true, at least it’s going out with a bang.

The Big Ten West is more back than it has ever been. None of the teams looked any good in Week 1 and all of them look poised to win (and lose) in hilarious, mind-bending fashion this season. Most people don’t understand B1G West football, but I know you, dear reader, aren’t most people. You appreciate this division for what it gives us: stout defense, pinpoint punting, and baffling QB play.

::wipes tear from eye::

I’ll truly miss it next year when it’s gone.

Everyone agrees, the Big Ten Wes is best!

Big Ten East

Indiana (Overall: 0-1; B1G: 0-1)

SP+ rank: Overall 85th, Offense 92nd, Defense 82nd, Special Teams 27th

Previous week’s result: (L) vs. No. 3 Ohio State, 23-3

Thoughts: You know, all things considered…Indiana did pretty well against Ohio State on Saturday! Sure they only scored three points, and Ohio State’s win probability never dipped below 90%, and neither of the quarterbacks could throw the ball, and nobody could run the ball, and they only gained 153 total yards in the whole game, and they had eight penalties for 75 yards, but, uh…well…they still did better than I thought they would!

IU was only down 10-3 at halftime and, quite frankly, their defense was giving OSU fits! They held All-Galaxy wide receiving duo Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka to a combined five catches and 34 yards and they also picked off Kyle McCord once. The Hoosiers are not going to be very good this season, but if Week 1 was any indication they also won’t be an automatic win, even for the best teams in the conference. If my favorite team’s official Twitter account posted something like this I would walk into a lake, never to be heard from again. Holy crap that’s embarrassing.

Up next: Friday, Sept. 8, vs. Indiana State, 6 p.m. CT, BTN

Maryland (Overall: 1-0; B1G: 0-0)

SP+ rank: Overall 30th, Offense 44th, Defense 21st, Special Teams 72nd

Previous week’s result: (W) vs. Towson, 38-6

Thoughts: Burning Man, if you don’t know, is an annual festival in the Nevada desert comprised solely of rich, tech d-bags from Silicon Valley supposedly focused on “community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance.” This year, torrential downpours stranded most attendees in the desert, where these very same attendees damaged the playa trying to escape by leaving trash buried in the mud, and there was a rumored Ebola outbreak which many, many people hilariously believed.


Look, I don’t want to Harsh Anyone’s Vibes, but this is exactly what these people deserved. Stop going into the desert, a place where you don’t live, and ruining it! Have people from San Francisco that use the word “disrupt” to describe whatever new app they’re developing ever done anything good for society? Unless they’re still stranded in the desert, the answer is sadly “no.”

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 9, vs. Charlotte, 6:30 p.m. CT, NBC

Michigan (Overall: 1-0; B1G: 0-0)

SP+ rank: Overall 3rd, Offense 11th, Defense 3rd, Special Teams 40th

Previous week’s result: (W) vs. East Carolina, 30-3

Thoughts: The Wolverines are the cringiest team in the country and I don’t think it’s particularly close. With head coach Jim Harbaugh out for the first three games of the season due to a university-imposed suspension, the team came out for their first offensive possession and held up four fingers (his number at Michigan was four) as a tribute to their coach and promptly gained three yards on a swing pass.

Pathetic, nerd shit.

Starting quarterback J.J. McCarthy wore a Harbaugh shirsey with the word “FREE” taped above the name like his coach was being illegally detained in Siberian prison and not “suspended for violating multiple NCAA rules.” My opinions on the NCAA notwithstanding (useless, feckless, unhelpful organization), the fact that Michigan’s QB felt the need to do this is so sad and makes me think less of the program’s chances to win the Big Ten this year.

AND THEN HARBAUGH GIVES A PRESS CONFERENCE LIKE THIS TALKING ABOUT “WE-FENSE?!?!?” Oh my God, please put me out of my misery! Michigan is doing a “Make You Hate Us After Doing Something Cool Like Beating Ohio State Twice” speed run the likes of which we may never have seen. Get these dorks out of my face!

Anywho, Michigan pounded ECU because, despite all of their off-field shenanigans, they are very, very good and ECU isn’t.

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 9, vs. UNLV, 2:30 p.m. CT, CBS

Michigan State (Overall: 1-0; B1G: 0-0)

SP+ rank: Overall 47th, Offense 67th, Defense 27th, Special Teams 18th

Previous week’s result: (W) vs. Central Michigan, 31-7

Thoughts: Man, I don’t know what to say about this team. MSU looked absolutely putrid in the first half, losing to CMU until there were 48 seconds left before halftime, and honestly didn’t look all that much better in the second half despite scoring three touchdowns and shutting out the Chips. The Spartans couldn’t control the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball until late in the game which is, uh, not a great sign for conference play. They were stopped on two separate 4th and 1 plays in the opening half and didn’t record a sack until the CMU o-line wore down late in the game.

Despite not wanting to “hand it” to MSU ever for any reason, this one-handed touchdown catch by Tyrell Henry was incredible. Noah Kim doesn’t look like he has “it” under center and Jalen Berger got 10 fewer carries and gained 89 fewer yards than Nathan Carter. Mel Tucker is in for a long, yet lucrative, year.

Hmmmm, much to consider.

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 9, vs. Richmond, 2:30 p.m. CT, BTN

Ohio State (Overall: 1-0; B1G: 1-0)

SP+ rank: Overall 4th, Offense 8th, Defense 5th, Special Teams 60th

Previous week’s result: (W) at Indiana, 23-3

Thoughts: Ryan Day is a bad football coach and Ohio State is suffering for it. He is soft and so is his team.

Personally, I love to see my OSU pals “going through it” every week while watching the Bucks. It’s the least of what they deserve and it would be hilarious if they lose to Notre Dame (they won’t, Notre Dame stinks) in a couple of weeks because the takes online would reach nuclear levels. Day would need 24/7 security and the city of Columbus might not ever recover from the riots.

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 9, vs. Youngstown State, 11 a.m. CT, BTN

Penn State (Overall: 1-0; B1G: 0-0)

SP+ rank: Overall 9th, Offense 21st, Defense 6th, Special Teams 123rd

Previous week’s result: (W) vs. West Virginia, 38-15

Thoughts: Man, I really don’t like Penn State. Like…at all. As some of you may know, I am from Pennsylvania and so my dislike for the NIttany Lions runs deep. However, you DO have to hand it to them for their aesthetic. Look at that stadium! Beautiful. I hope it gets swallowed up by the earth tomorrow.

Anyways, I’m worried I vastly underestimated this team. QB Drew Allar looks like the real deal and their defense is mean, athletic, and fast. PSU didn’t even run the ball that well (146 yards total, 4.2 ypc) and their running backs are INCREDIBLE. Allar threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns and looked like a freak while doing it.

The Lions had to switch kickers halfway through the game, so, you know…keep an eye on that because #collegekickers could rear its ugly head at any time!

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 9, vs. Delaware, 11 a.m. CT, Peacock

Rutgers (Overall: 1-0; B1G: 1-0)

SP+ rank: Overall 69th (NICE!), Offense 91st, Defense 44th, Special Teams 84th

Previous week’s result: (W) vs. Northwestern, 24-7

Thoughts: The amount of absolutely bonkers catches made by Big Ten wideouts last week was excellent. Super athletic dudes doing cool stuff on the football field will always be awesome, even if it does involve Rutgers and Northwestern prominently. 

Do the Scarlet Knights have something cooking out in New Jersey? No, no they do not. They should’ve beaten Northwestern by much more and they didn’t because…they are also bad! What a fun Big Ten conference this is.

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 9, vs. Temple, 6:30 p.m. CT, BTN

Big Ten West

Illinois (Overall: 1-0; B1G: 0-0)

SP+ rank: Overall 52nd, Offense 78th, Defense 19th, Special Teams 13th

Previous week’s result: (W) vs. Toledo, 30-28

Thoughts: Escaping with a season-opening win against Toledo at home thanks to a last second field goal is no way to go through life, Bret Bielema.

I never have had enough chest hair to be able to shave anything into it, but one time in college I shaved the left side of my beard and the right side of my mustache and left the right side of my beard and left side of my mustache alone. Why yes, my girlfriend at the time did not approve and yet many years later she said “yes” when I proposed. Curious!

Up next: Friday, Sept. 8, at Kansas, 6:30 p.m. CT, ESPN2

Iowa (Overall: 0-0; B1G: 0-0)

SP+ rank: Overall 33rd, Offense 93rd, Defense 2nd, Special Teams 30th

Previous week’s result: (W) vs. Utah State, 24-14

Thoughts: The Great Brian Ferentz Needs To Score 25 PPG To Keep His Job Experiment started with a bang, friends. The Hawks opened the season with a 54-yard kickoff return, a 3-yard rush, and then a 36-yard touchdown pass! After 42 seconds of game play, Iowa was already on the board for their beleaguered offensive coordinator!!

After the defense forced a Utah State three and out, the Iowa offense came back out onto the field and marched 75 yards in 11 plays to score ANOTHER touchdown!!! Cade McNamara was cooking with gas, spreading the ball all over the field, and Iowa’s offense looked like a juggernaut. It was a real “Happy learned how to putt, uh-oh” situation for the rest of the Big Ten. Halfway through the FIRST QUARTER and Iowa already had 14 points! They were going to score over 40 and silence the haters and losers for a week, right? Well,,,

Iowa didn’t score again until seven seconds were left in the first half (up to 17 points and on pace for 34!) and then went the entire third quarter without scoring and only scored one touchdown in the fourth quarter. That left them at 24 total points for the game, one point short of the 25 ppg that the Ferentzes were shooting for. Ahhhh yeah, that’s the good stuff. THAT’S the Iowa Hawkeyes football team I know and love. As I’m sure many outlets will be doing this season, we’ll keep track of The Great Brian Ferentz Needs To Score 25 PPG To Keep His Job Experiment all season long. 

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 9, at Iowa State, 2:30 p.m. CT, FOX

Minnesota (Overall: 1-0; B1G: 1-0)

SP+ rank: Overall 39th, Offense 79th, Defense 10th, Special Teams 81st

Previous week’s result: (W) vs. Nebraska, 13-10

Thoughts: Minnesota’s offensive line has been very good the past couple of years. I, uh, do not think that will be the case this season. The Gophers ran the ball 25 times for 55 yards (2.2 ypc) and Nebraska recorded three sacks. QB Athan Kaliakmanis, who is bad, barely completed half of his 44 passes, didn’t even crack 200 yards, and threw as many picks (1) as he did touchdowns.

None of that mattered, however, because the Gophers were playing Nebraska and the Ghost of Scott Frost is with that team forever. Minnesota forced four turnovers and the Huskers committed numerous key (for the Gophers) penalties, showing that Matt Rhule has a loooooooong rebuild ahead of him. In a theme throughout the conference this week, Daniel Jackson had one of the most impressive catches (on 4th and 10 no less) I’ve seen in my years watching college football.

This team is probably going to be pretty bad this year. The final year of the Big Ten West will be the division’s finest display yet!

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 9, vs. Eastern Michigan, 6:30 p.m. CT, BTN

Nebraska (Overall: 0-1; B1G: 0-1)

SP+ rank: Overall 55th, Offense 74th, Defense 28th, Special Teams 19th

Previous week’s result: (L) at Minnesota, 13-10

Thoughts: It appears that the stench of the Scott Frost Era is not so easily removed from the Nebraska Cornhuskers football program! What a putrid opening night performance from Matt Rhule and his “new” Huskers. It has been hilarious watching Nebraska fans, who once supported a proud program that won things, cope by saying things like “well, they tried hard through the whole game and you couldn’t say that about Frost’s teams.” Lmaoooooooo, grow up and be serious for one minute! What a pathetic moral victory to take away from a game you were winning in the fourth quarter against a bad Big Ten Minnesota team.

New QB Jeff Sims was who we thought he was (bad at being a quarterback), the team had four turnovers and seven penalties, and they gave up a pair of crucial fourth down conversions to a sub-standard Gophers offense. This team stinks and will probably lose to Coach Prime and Colorado by 50 points this week.

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 9, at Colorado, 11 a.m. CT, FOX

Northwestern (Overall: 0-1; B1G: 0-1)

SP+ rank: Overall 100th, Offense 129th, Defense 57th, Special Teams 90th

Previous week’s result: (L) at Rutgers, 24-7

Thoughts: The Wildcats had 13 (!!!) different receivers catch a pass on Sunday. That’s impressive! Bryce Gallagher had 19 tackles too! He should finish with a ton of those this year since, uh, the NU defense is going to be on the field a lot. The worst part about this game, and trust me…for Northwestern fans just about everything was the worst, was that Rutgers didn’t even play particularly well! And Northwestern STILL looked like a high school JV team in comparison.

Just a disgusting, nasty performance from a squad that could end up being the worst P5 team we’ve seen in recent memory.

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 9, vs. UTEP, 2:30 p.m. CT, BTN

Purdue (Overall: 0-1; B1G: 0-0)

SP+ rank: Overall 64th, Offense 53rd, Defense 81st, Special Teams 118th

Previous week’s result: (L) vs. Fresno State, 39-35

Thoughts: A troubling season-opening loss for a team that very clearly was breaking in a new head coach, new quarterback, and a host of unproven defenders. Fresno State should be decent this year, so maybe this isn’t as surprising a loss as it seems…but I do think it spells trouble for the Boilermakers the rest of the year. Purdue had an 11 point lead in the third quarter and then just needed to stop the Bulldogs from driving all the way down the field in the final four and a half minutes to get the win. They couldn’t.

Sophomore WR Deion Burks did an admirable Rondale Moore impression, catching four passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. I will be following Burks closely as Moore is one of my favorite Big Ten players of the last decade.

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 9, at Virginia Tech, 11 a.m. CT, ESPN2

Wisconsin (Overall: 1-0; B1G: 0-0)

SP+ rank: Overall 26th, Offense 42nd, Defense 14th, Special Teams 51st

Previous week’s result: (W) vs. Buffalo, 38-17

Thoughts: This was, as they say, a tale of two halves. If we are looking at this game rationally (I’m not and never will) the Badgers weren’t in serious jeopardy of losing at any point. They were clearly the better, more talented, team and, like it usually does, that won out in the end. However, Wisconsin’s play in the first half stunk! They looked bad on both sides of the ball and were only up four at halftime against the Bulls!!

New QB Tanner Mordecai had an unimpressive debut, although some will note the dropped 60-yard TD bomb by Skyler Bell severely impacted Mordecai’s stat line especially since he threw a pick two plays later, the run defense (despite being excellent on short yardage plays) wasn’t up to snuff, the pass rush was non-existent and very few havoc plays were created by anyone on the defense, and the Badgers turned it over twice. Against most other FBS teams, that’s a recipe for a loss.

The Badgers DID have some positives on Saturday though. Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi formed a beautiful one-two punch in the backfield, both rushing for over 100 yards and each finding the endzone twice. Will Pauling looked really reliable as a slot WR and freshman TE Tucker Ashcraft didn’t seem to know he shouldn’t be playing so well in his first career game. Hunter Wohler was all over the field making tackles and the defense usually forced Buffalo off the field on third down. UW also only committed three penalties (compared to Buffalo’s seven) which is a far cry from how Luke Fickell’s Cincinnati teams played.

The main thing that I loved about this game? Wisconsin and Fickell made adjustments at halftime because they weren’t playing as well as they’d hoped in the first half! That is not always something that happened in the past and it was a pleasant surprise. I’m not WORRIED about this Wisconsin team, as I think the first game under a new coach is always one where kinks get worked out on the fly. I think this team will continue to improve as the season goes on and we probably won’t see their best football for another month or so. Mordecai probably won’t have a better run all year than the one where he juked the Buffalo defender out of his cleats though.

Hopefully the in-stadium DJ gets the levels set for the next home game because it was, apparently, too damn loud the entire game. Also, should Soulja Boy really be played at a sporting event in 2023? Do the students even know who that is? 

Up next: Saturday, Sept. 9, at Washington State, 6:30 p.m. CT, ABC

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Drew Hamm on Twitter @DrewHamm5

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The Implications of Chez Mellusi’s Injury for Wisconsin Football



Wisconsin football; Badgers running back Chez Mellusi suffers devastating injury
Sep 22, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Chez Mellusi (1) is taken off the field in a cart after suffering an injury during the second half at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin football program is heading into the bye week on a high note with a 38-17 win over Purdue. The Badgers showed some flashes of potential in their Big Ten opener, but the biggest storyline coming out of the game was the injury to Chez Mellusi

The injury looked bad on replay, but the cart coming out for the former Clemson transfer, along with an air cast being placed on his leg, heightened fears for the worst. Ultimately, it was confirmed that Mellusi would miss the rest of the 2023 season with a fractured fibula.

Mellusi’s fracture marked his third significant injury during his tenure with the Badgers. He was named the starter in 2021 after transferring in from Clemson but ultimately suffered a season-ending ACL tear. He would return for his 2022 campaign but miss four games in the middle of the season due to a broken arm. Now, just four games into the season, Mellusi will miss the final eight games of the regular season. 

Where Does Wisconsin Football Go From Here?

Without Mellusi, UW will look to its young talent to replicate his production, which could be challenging. The fifth-year senior logged 51 carries for 307 yards and four touchdowns through four games. He also tacked on three receptions for 12 yards. 

Mellusi did earn a bulk of the carries through four games, with Braleon Allen dinged up. Luckily, Allen looks to be back to his usual self, so they won’t need to rely on a younger back to take the majority of the carries. Still, the depth is a big question mark for Wisconsin’s running back room now. 

Behind Allen, the Badgers have Jackson Acker, Cade Yacamelli, Grover Bortolotti, and Nate White to fill out the rotation. 

Acker, a redshirt sophomore, has sparingly seen some time on the field as the RB3. The Madison native has appeared in three games thus far, logging eight carries for 31 yards as well as one reception for three yards. As the RB3, he’ll be expected to step up in the wake of Mellusi’s injury when Allen needs a breather. 

Converted safety Cade Yacamelli will be the likely candidate to fill Acker’s shoes in the RB3 role. He hasn’t appeared in any offensive snaps thus far, but he has seen some time on the field with special teams. Reports out of spring and fall camp indicated that Yacamelli had something in the tank as a running back, but it remains to be seen in live game reps. 

It’s not the best situation for Wisconsin to be in, but UW does have plenty of contributors at tailback who could take some snaps if need be. Although this situation is a tough one all around, there could be a bright spot. 

Chez Mellusi Could Return to the Wisconsin Football Program in 2024

Since Mellusi sustained his injury during the fourth game of the season, Badger fans shouldn’t rule out a sixth-year return from the standout tailback.

Although Mellusi didn’t see starter-level snaps during his time with Clemson, he never used a redshirt year. Plus, his sophomore season was impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, giving him another year of eligibility. 

So, the choice for Mellusi comes down to focusing on his health and looking to sign with an NFL team as a UDFA or moving on to the next phase of his life outside of football. On the other hand, he could return for a sixth year to boost his draft stock. It certainly wouldn’t hurt Wisconsin, who is looking at Allen potentially heading to the NFL draft after the season and having an influx of young running backs coming into the fold, such as Darrion Dupree, Dilin Jones, and Gideon Ituka.

Although Mellusi’s injury is devastating for a number of reasons, there is a small bright spot in that we could see him don the cardinal and white one more time. 

Wisconsin is now headed into the bye week starting 3-1 on the season. They’ll take on Rutgers on October 7th in Madison as both teams look to improve to 4-1. 

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here. Also, like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter @JakeJMaier.

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Wisconsin Football Defensive Snap Counts & PFF Grades vs. Purdue



Wisconsin football; Badgers defensive end James Thompson Jr.
Sep 22, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Wisconsin Badgers defensive end James Thompson Jr. (90) celebrates after sacking Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Hudson Card (1) during the first half at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin Badgers football team (3-1, 1-0 B1G) kicked off Big Ten play with a 38-17 victory over Ryan Walters and the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on Friday night

In this post-game recap, we dissect the performance of the Wisconsin Badgers by analyzing their snap counts and Pro Football Focus (PFF) grades for each position group — and include a few stats that help add context to the ole eye test. 

By analyzing these metrics, we can gain a clearer insight into the individual contributions of each unit to the team’s overall performance. While you can’t take these figures as gospel, this allows us to identify strengths, key contributors, and areas where Wisconsin football excelled.

Let’s dive in. 

Wisconsin Football Defensive Snap Counts & PFF Grades

Wisconsin Badgers football

Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver TJ Sheffield (8) is tackled by a group of Wisconsin Badgers players during the NCAA football game, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Wisconsin Badgers won 38-17.

Defensive Line:

Rodas Johnson – Snap Count: [36] – PFF Grade: [47.4]

James Thomspon – Snap Count: [35] – PFF Grade: [64.6]

Darian Varner – Snap Count: [15] – PFF Grade: [62.1]


Gio Paez – Snap Count: [23] – PFF Grade: [44.1]

Curt Neal – Snap Count: [19] – PFF Grade: [49.0]

Ben Barten – Snap Count: [16] – PFF Grade: [59.4]

Inside Linebackers:

Jake Chaney – Snap Count: [71] – PFF Grade: [61.2]

Jordan Turner – Snap Count: [70] – PFF Grade: [48.8]

*Maema Njongmeta – Snap Count: [1?] – PFF Grade: [N/A]

Outside Linebackers:

C.J. Goetz – Snap Count: [53] – PFF Grade: [55.0]

Darryl Peterson – Snap Count: [45] – PFF Grade: [56.6]

Jeff Pietrowski – Snap Count: [14] – PFF Grade: [55.6]

Kaden Johnson – Snap Count: [5] – PFF Grade: [79.1]


Ricardo Hallman – Snap Count: [71] – PFF Grade: [69.2]

Jason Maitre – Snap Count: [69] – PFF Grade: [58.2]

Alexander Smith – Snap Count: [50] – PFF Grade: [74.9]

Nyzier Fourqurean – Snap Count: [21] – PFF Grade: [56.0]


Hunter Wohler – Snap Count: [71] – PFF Grade: [71.6]

Kamo’i Latu – Snap Count: [36] – PFF Grade: [59.7]

Preston Zachman – Snap Count: [61] – PFF Grade: [53.6]

Defensive Analysis:

The most peculiar thing about Wisconsin football beating Purdue on Friday night was senior inside linebacker Maema Njongmeta essentially not playing at all. Full disclosure: I didn’t notice it until somebody pointed it out — but he appeared to see the field for one snap on fourth down late in the game. Luke Fickell said he was available — and I have a hard time believing something more isn’t going on here — but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. 

The safety rotation was also somewhat bizarre to me for several reasons: Travian Blaylock sat in favor of a heavy dosage of Preston Zachman. I was also disappointed that Austin Brown couldn’t build off a strong performance against Georgia Southern. 

I don’t need to get super in-depth on this one, but the defensive front seven was BAD. James Thompson Jr. is quickly becoming a stud on the defensive line — but other than him — there weren’t any individual performances to write home about. Nobody on the Wisconsin football defense registered more than two pressures on the night, and the Badgers finished with 16 total. 

Lastly, a Wisconsin Badgers defense that’s struggled with giving up chunk plays all season (bottom third in the NCAA) also has a huge tackling issue — and was credited with 16 missed tackles as a team. This Wisconsin football defense isn’t talented enough to overcome these sloppy mistakes and is a clear point of emphasis to clean up during the bye week.

Wisconsin Football Offensive Snap Counts & PFF Grades vs. Purdue

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

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Wisconsin Football Falls Outside the Top 25 in Week 4 SP+ Rankings



Wisconsin football; Badgers head coach Luke Fickell
Sep 22, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell look on prior to the start of the game at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday night, Wisconsin Football laid down a 21-point victory in their Big Ten Conference opener against Purdue; now, the Badgers sit outside the top 25 in the AP polls with a 3-1 record (1-0 Big Ten) heading into a Week 5 bye before taking on Rutgers. 

The ESPN SP+ rankings were updated following the Week 4 slate, and the Cardinal and White slipped in the latest polls despite their 38-17 triumph over the Boilermakers.  

Wisconsin Football Falls Outside the Top 25 in Updated SP+ Rankings

For anyone unfamiliar with the ESPN SP+ model, it’s not your father’s associated press top 25 poll. It’s a forward-facing, Predictive model that serves as a tempo and opponent-adjusted measure of efficiency.

With that out of the way, the Week 4 SP+ rankings currently have Wisconsin football as the No. 27 team in the country — down two spots from last week. According to the metric, the Badgers have an overall grade of 13.2, with the No. 39 offense, No. 18 defense, and No. 4 special teams unit.

Other notable Big Ten programs in the SP+ top 10 include Michigan (1), Ohio State (3), and Penn State (10).

When the Badgers come out of the bye week, Wisconsin football begins a tough stretch of games against Rutgers, Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio State. Let’s hope the coaching staff can make necessary defensive adjustments, clean up the penalties on offense, and work in the younger running backs who must fill the No. 2 role after losing Chez Mellusi for the season.

Good, Bad and Ugly From Wisconsin Football 38-17 Win Over Purdue

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin Badgers football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

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