I think ESPN tried to play an April Fool’s joke on Wisconsin football fans but just did it a week too soon. How else can you possibly explain the Badgers’ complete exclusion from their annual power rankings of the upcoming season’s quarterbacks?
They listed 25 schools, and for the second consecutive season, the Wisconsin quarterback room was denied a mention. O.K., last year might have warranted silence, with an average quarterback leading a run-heavy offense.
But this year? There are tons of first-year QBs that haven’t started a game on this list. After looking at the list and reading the capsules, I’m completely convinced that while there may not be an anti-Big Ten bias at ESPN, they certainly don’t care for Bucky at all.
Here’s a look at ESPN’s QB room rankings.
Wisconsin Football QBs Snubbed by ESPN
1. USC- Caleb Williams. Well, duh.
2. Ohio State- No returning starter. Kyle McCord. A player that has thrown 20 career passes and never started should not be 2nd on any list, except for maybe potential.
3. Oklahoma- Dillon Gabriel. This is my first huge gripe. Gabriel is a transfer from UCF, in his 2nd season at Oklahoma. Last year, he was 7th on this list, had a solid season, and now is 3rd. His UCF numbers are incredibly similar to Tanner Mordecai’s SMU stats. Oh, that’s right, they don’t play defense in the Big 12.
4. Georgia- No returning starter. Carson Beck has attempted 58 passes, and Brock Vandagriff (that sounds like one of the mean frat guys in “Animal House”) has thrown a whopping two! I guess winning back-to-back national championships means you’ll be good at everything, every year.
5. Alabama- No returning starter. Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson have combined to throw 65 total passes. But, of course, it’s Alabama
6. Michigan- J.J. McCarthy. This is the second selection I don’t have an issue with. McCarthy talking to any OSU QB in 2023″I threw for 263 yards, 3 TDs, and ran one in as well. What did you do in last year’s 45-23 Michigan romp?”
7. Texas-Quinn Ewers. He had a decent year (2177 yards, 58.1 %, 15 TDs-6 ints) and Texas went 8-5…in the non-defense playing Big 12.
8. Tennessee- No returning starter. I’m not going to pick on Vol fans because I’m sure they’re sick after losing to FAU in the NCAA tourney.
9. Florida State-Jordan Travis. Not a horrible selection, probably should be higher on this given list, to be honest.
10. Oregon- Bo Nix. Hasn’t he been playing college football for a decade? He couldn’t cut it in the SEC, so he transferred to Oregon and put up video game numbers.
Where is the Love for Wisconsin Football?
Out of the remaining 15 teams, five of them do not feature returning starters. This is what I find the most egregious sleight. You can make a case for a team that has some stability returning, familiarity with the system, etc. That’s fine because there may be a slight period of transition with Wisconsin’s offensive flow, given the completely new coaching staff. But with the level of talent that Wisconsin football possesses, not only in skill positions but on the offensive line as well, the learning curve for these players may be a little steeper than most, but I also expect to be much faster. I wholeheartedly believe that this team will average about 35 points and 450 yards of offense a game.
So take heart, Badger fans. Our quarterback may not be listed in the preseason rankings, but when the dust settles, you can bet Wisconsin football will have a top-15 quarterback at the end of the season.
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