Make what you will of the Associated Press top-25 poll, but might we present as Exhibit A Wisconsin’s game against Eastern Michigan as to why college football teams schedule cupcakes early in the season.
Sure, sometimes these games aren’t as easy as expected and can even result in – gasp! – a loss (we’re looking at you Florida State), more often than not contests vs. the likes of the EMUs of the world are ways for teams to get some of the kinks out and shake off the rust of fall camp and prepare for the long year against conference opponents.
It doesn’t hurt your cause in the AP poll, either.
Right now, you might be asking, what are you talking about? Wisconsin slipped to No. 18 after losing to Penn State and remained at No. 18 after beating Eastern Michigan. Ah, but the Badgers, after a convincing if not kind of boring 34-6 win, gained 123 points in the poll.
Winning, of course helped. So did a few top-25 teams losing, such as Texas and Utah.
Still, some voters appeared to really like Wisconsin’s win over a MAC team predicted to finish near the bottom of the standings.
Two didn’t rank the Badgers last week but in Week 3’s poll moved UW back onto their ballots. Way up on their ballots.
Jonas Pope of the Raleigh News and Observer now has Wisconsin at No. 13 and Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News at No. 15. Coincidentally, that’s where both voters had the Badgers on their preseason ballots.
Twenty-three voters had Wisconsin in the top 15 – well, from Nos. 13-15 – and 35, more than half, from 13-17.
Most voters moved the Badgers up, but not all. Most notably, Lauren Brownlow of WRAL in Durham, N.C., had Wisconsin ranked No. 20 last week but didn’t put UW on her ballot in Week 3 (she had the Badgers at No. 19 on her preseason ballot, for what it’s worth).
Here’s all the votes from Week 3 compared to Week 2:
|VOTER||WEEK 3||WEEK 2|
|Colten Bartholomew, Wisconsin State Journal||13||15|
|James Kratch, The Star Ledger||13||16|
|Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News||13||13|
|Jonas Pope, Raleigh News and Observer||13||NR|
|Josh Furlong, KSL.com||13||15|
|Sam McKewon, Omaha World-Herald||13||16|
|Adam Grosbard, Orange County Register||14||18|
|Darren Haynes, WUSA-TV (Washington, D.C.)||14||16|
|Michael Lev, Arizona Daily Star||14||18|
|Ryan Aber, The Oklahoman||14||17|
|Tom D'Angelo, Palm Beach Post||14||15|
|Aaron McMann, Mlive.com||15||16|
|Andy Greder, St. Paul Pioneer Press||15||17|
|Blair Kerkoff, Kansas City Star||15||18|
|Brian Howell, Daily Camera||15||19|
|Cecil Hurt, Tuscaloosa News||15||NR|
|Eric Hansen, South Bend Tribune||15||18|
|Gentry Estes, The Tennessean||15||18|
|Robbie Faulk, Starkville Daily News||15||16|
|Robert Cessna, Bryan-College Station Eagle||15||17|
|Ron Counts, Idaho Statesman||15||18|
|Steve Batterson, Quad City Times||15||16|
|Trevor Hass, Boston.com||15||19|
|Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune||16||19|
|Don Williams, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal||16||20|
|Jordan Hill, Opelika-Auburn News||16||20|
|Madison Blevins, WBIR-TV||16||17|
|Matt Baker, Tampa Bay Times||16||18|
|Matt Brown, The Athletic||16||19|
|Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel||16||17|
|Brett McMurphy, Action Network||17||20|
|Glen Guilbeau, USA Today Louisiana||17||19|
|Jon McGonigal, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette||17||22|
|Mike Vorel, Seattle Times||17||20|
|Nathan Baird, Cleveland.com||17||21|
|Bennett Conlin, The Daily Progress||18||22|
|Chris Murray, Reno Gazette-Journal||18||23|
|David Briggs, Toledo Blade||18||18|
|Ethan Joyce, Winston-Salem Journal||18||19|
|Steve Virgen, Albuquerque Journal||18||17|
|Ben Portnoy, The State (Columbia, SC)||19||10|
|Dylan Sinn, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette||19||22|
|John Clay, Lexington Herald-Leader||19||22|
|Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald||19||21|
|Pete Martini, Salem Statesman Journal||19||20|
|Scott Richey, Champaign News-Gazette||19||17|
|Tom Murphy, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette||20||22|
|Zach Klein, WSB (Atlanta)||20||24|
|Rece Davis, ESPN||21||22|
|Jack Ebling, WSYM (Lansing, MI)||22||24|
|Neill Ostrout, Journal Inquirer||22||24|
|Adam Zucker, CBS Sports Network||24||24|
|Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle||24||25|
|Mike Barber, Richmond Times-Dispatch||25||25|
|Ryan Pritt, Charleston Gazette-Mail||25||25|
|Ryan Thorburn, Eugene Register-Guard||25||25|
|Chuck Carlton, Dallas Morning News||NR||NR|
|Dave Reardon, Honolulu Star-Advertiser||NR||NR|
|David Jablonski, Cox Media Group||NR||NR|
|Garland Gillen, WVUE-TV New Orleans||NR||NR|
|Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman||NR||NR|
|Lauren Brownlow, WRAL (Durham, NC)||NR||20|
|Nate Mink, Syracuse Media Group||NR||NR|