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Wisconsin Football Finishes as Top Big Ten West Team in SP+

Wisconsin football finishes as…the best in the Big Ten West?

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Wisconsin football; Badgers running back Braelon Allen
Nov 25, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen (0) runs with the ball as quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) puts a block on Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive back Jack Henderson (20) at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday night, Wisconsin football capped off its regular season with a convincing 28-14 win over PJ Fleck and the Minnesota Gophers on the road. Now, the Badgers (7-5, 5-4 B1G), who are outside the AP Top 25, will sit back and wait to learn what bowl game they’ll be playing in.

The ESPN SP+ rankings were updated following the Week 13 slate, and the Cardinal and White somehow finished as the highest-rated Big Ten West team — despite finishing two games behind Iowa in the standings.

Wisconsin Football Finishes as Top Big Ten West Team 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.

Now that we’ve tackled what it means, the Week 13 SP+ rankings currently have Wisconsin football as the No. 27 team in the country — up four spots from last week.

According to the SP+ metric, the Badgers have an overall grade of 9.0, with the No. 89 offense, No. 6 defense, and No. 20 special teams unit.

Here’s a look at other notable Big Ten West programs final rankings in the SP+ regular season rankings: Iowa (31), Nebraska (65), Minnesota (70), Northwestern (71), Illinois (75), and Purdue (90).

It wasn’t the season many Wisconsin football fans had hoped for in the first year of the Luke Fickell era — but a strong finish helped the Badgers better position themselves for a more promising offseason.



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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of BadgerNotes.com, 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.

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