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Exploring the Perception of Wisconsin Football in PFF’s Power Rankings



Wisconsin Badgers Football
Wisconsin football coach Luke Fickell (center) makes a point to the defensive linemen during the team's first spring practice on Saturday March 25, 2023 at the McClain Center in Madison, Wis. Uw Football Spring Practice 7 March 25 2023

It’s officially that time of the year when the college football season is just around the corner, and all we’re left to do is recklessly speculate on the upcoming season — then rip each other’s opinions apart, which is what we’re going to do. PFF recently published its top 25 power rankings for the 2023 season — and Wisconsin football didn’t receive any love whatsoever.

Let’s look at where Pro Football Focus sees the Wisconsin Badgers along with the rest of the field and then read too far into it (because it’s July).

Wisconsin Football Misses the Cut in PFF CFB Top-25 Power Rankings

Listen, I get it — the Badgers are coming off a 7-6 season that ended in a Guaranteed Rate Bowl victory and had three head coaches running the show. That said, Wisconsin football is light years ahead of where they were at season’s end. 

UW Athletic Director Chris McIntosh hired Luke Fickell — the same guy who took Cincinnati to the college football playoffs to become the next head coach of the Badgers. 

Second, Wisconsin found a way to bring in Phil Longo, a top-five offensive coordinator in the country, to overhaul its offense to compliment their always stout defensive front, now led by Mike Tressel. 

Lastly, the new coaching staff went out and crushed it in the transfer portal and even ended with a top 10 class nationallywhich will help speed up the re-tooling process exponentially. Odds are, you’re looking at a 9 to 10-win team and the Big Ten West champions — not a sub-top 25 program. 

Final Thoughts from PFF’s Power Rankings List

Here’s a look at the PFF power rankings heading into the 2023 season:

1. Georgia

2. Alabama

3. Ohio State

4. Michigan

5. Texas

6. Clemson

7. Penn State

8. LSU

9. Tennessee

10. USC

11. Notre Dame

12. Oregon

13. Oklahoma

14. Florida State

15. Utah

16. TCU

17. Kansas State

18. Arkansas

19. Kentucky

20. Florida

21. Washington

22. South Carolina

23. Mississippi State

24. Minnesota

25. Pittsburgh.

It makes me physically ill to think there’s a human being or possibly even plural people out there that think Minnesota is going to be better than Wisconsin football this season. If anyone reading this wants to take that bet, please DM me and name your price. 

Considering Wisconsin returns over 72% of their talent from last season, their transfer portal haul, and a more competent coaching staff — a top 25 ranking feels inevitable more than anything. How far they go is a complete unknown until we see it on the field. September 2 can’t come soon enough because the Luke Fickell era will be wonderful. 

Ultimately, these rankings have little to no significance. Sorry for wasting your time — rant over.  

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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, B5Q, Saturday Blitz, and Fansided.