USATSI_16736541

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:

HOW THEY VOTED: WEEK 3
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