Luke Fickell and Wisconsin got snubbed
Luke Fickell inherited a dicey situation in terms of roster and recruiting turnover when he accepted the Wisconsin Badgers job. He’s done a tremendous job recruiting since then. The Badgers, aided by hiring top offensive coordinator Phil Longo, have flipped major offensive pieces that will make the team dynamic next season. But the national media isn’t buying the hype yet.
ESPN released their 2023 Way Too Early college football Top 25 list following the national championship game on Monday. The Big Ten conference had four teams (Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Iowa) represent them on the list. They left first year coach Fickell and the Badgers off.
That seems a little unfair to Fickell and the Badgers. Luke Fickell has a history of coaching success at his previous job, Cincinnati. He took teams that where undervalued and enjoyed Top 25 success, even making it to the 2022 College Football Playoff. The 2022 preseason AP poll ranked the Badgers 18th coming into last season. So these rankins might be an overcorrection to that overrating.
However, this Badgers team should be more talented. The Badgers will return a key offensive starter in running back Braelon Allen. But the new Badgers offensive will look to do more than run. Fickell and Longo were able to get a few massive transfers at quarterback. Tanner Mordecai didn’t come to Madison to play for a mediocre Badgers team. One would expect Wisconsin to battle for the Big Ten West title next season.