To say the least, it has been a very good start to the 2016 Wisconsin Badgers’ football season. A thriller of an opener against LSU, followed by a 54-point performance in the home opener against Akron.
For what it is worth, those who vote in the Associated Press and coaches polls have noticed. Prior to the Lambeau Field College Classic, the Badgers were unranked. Today, they are 12th in the coaches rankings and ninth in the AP.
It can be fun to talk about, but in reality, the poll that matters will not be released for another six weeks. That would be the College Football Playoff rankings. We will wait until November to see the first installment of the playoff committee’s Top 25.
However, contrary to what some of the pundits want to write or say, to this observer it is a bit early to make firm judgments on teams, conferences or individual players. It seems premature to pick four playoff teams. I believe I will wait before I declare the SEC overrated. While I am at it, I will hold off on naming a Heisman Trophy frontrunner.
That said, there have been some interesting developments. Clemson, last year’s national runner-up, has done just enough to win its first two games against Auburn and Troy.
Oklahoma State lost on a crazy Hail Mary, hook-and-ladder play to Central Michigan. An officiating error made the final play possible, but still what a finish it was in Stillwater.
The double-overtime affair between Arkansas and TCU seemingly had a season’s worth of twists and turns.
Week One had plenty of high-profile matchups. Week Two did not, but there was enough drama to keep us entertained well into Saturday night.
It is why we love college football.
Which brings us back to the Badgers. They deserve credit for quickly dismissing any talk of a letdown from the LSU game. From the opening drive, the Badgers established control and went about the business of dismantling the Zips.
The offense was better at finishing drives. The defense continues to be a very stubborn group. If all goes well, the improvements will continue in this Saturday’s game against Georgia State.
There are a number of encouraging signs for the Badgers, not the least of which is the knowledge they are by no means a finished product. They shouldn’t be. The season is two weeks old.
This year’s Badgers believe they can be a special team. They also understand there is a long way to go, including a full Big Ten schedule. Even that is a week-and-a-half away from beginning.
So for now, they will hold off on naming an MVP or composing a championship pep rally speech. What the Badgers will do is continue to work hard, enjoy the game and assume nothing.
It is a combination that makes perfect sense. It also can give them an improved chance of having a better season than many anticipated.