Badgers: No. 18 in coaches poll, program eyes academic changes


The Wisconsin Badgers are ranked in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll for the fourth straight season, checking in at No. 18 in advance of the 2015 season.

They have a chance to move up quickly, however. The Badgers open against Alabama on Sept. 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Crimson Tide, who lost to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl in the College Football Playoff semifinals last season, open at No. 3 in the coaches’ poll.

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Defending national champion Ohio State opens at No. 1, followed by TCU, Alabama, Baylor and Oregon in the top 5.

Michigan State debuts at No. 6, with the top 10 rounded out by Auburn, Florida State, Georgia and USC.

There are just three Big Ten teams in the poll, with Nebraska, Minnesota, Penn State, Illinois, Maryland and Michigan also receiving votes.

The Badgers were at Big Ten media day in Chicago on Thursday, with coach Paul Chryst accompanied by quarterback Joel Stave, running back Corey Clement and safety Michael Caputo.

While they were there, former 2015 recruit Jordan Stevenson, denied admission to the university recently, announced on Twitter he was committing to Wisconsin’s Big Ten West Division rival, Nebraska.

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“That’s an issue that, I feel bad,” Chryst told reporters in Chicago, per the Wisconsin State Journal. “The kid did everything that we asked him to do. I feel for him and for the time of the announcement, but I also think it gives us an opportunity to visit and make sure that we’re doing the right thing for the university and the program.

“It just was the timetable that happened with it. He took a test, got the test score back. People had to look at it. It wasn’t a set timetable. Everyone did what they could on their time. (The timing) was unfortunate, clearly. But it wasn’t like someone was sitting on information for a while. Everyone was going as fast as they could, yet still trying to do it the right way.”

Athletic director Barry Alvarez says he would like to see the admissions process return to the way things were done before a policy shift changed the appeals process about five years ago.

Prior to the change, coaches could make appeals on behalf of prospective recruits to individual schools and colleges within the university.

“You had coaches who knew student-athletes and recruited them and had been through the screening process, they’ve done the screening,” Alvarez said. “That’s what we tried to emphasize. Our coaches understand the profile of our incoming student-athletes (and) the profile of the students who are on campus.

“And they feel that certain people will have success or have a chance for success and they can present that case because they know and have researched these individuals to the individual colleges. Now, with the way they’ve been doing it, they don’t talk to coaches. They look at score, they look at numbers, they look at whatever they see and at times make decisions before there is a verbal appeal.”

Nov 15, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers cornerback Devin Gaulden (4) celebrates a Wisconsin touchdown during the game with the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin defeated Nebraska 59-24. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Gaulden transferring, Gault not on roster

Chryst said Thursday that fifth-year senior Devin Gaulden—who was one of two experienced cornerbacks returning for 2015—had left the program and was transferring to Wake Forest.

“That is a big loss,” Caputo said, per the Wisconsin State Journal. “I was a bit surprised when he came up and told me he was going to transfer.”

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  • Already a graduate, Gaulden will be immediately eligible to play for the Demon Deacons this season.

    Gaulden had an injury-plagued four years in Madison, but played in 14 games last season, starting seven, and had nine tackles and two passes defensed while primarily playing at the nickel back spot.

    He finished his career, missing the 2013 season because of a knee injury sustained in 2012, with 14 tackles and two passes defensed in three seasons.

    According to Chryst, Gaulden wanted to be closer to his family’s home in Miramar, Fla.

    Offensive lineman Jaden Gault is not on the roster for 2015, either. The Monona Grove graduate was a top recruit in 2014, but is still recovering from depression that began during his first spring semester at the university.

    Next: Badgers Favored To Win Big Ten West Again

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