Wisconsin in Top 15 of Coaches' Poll

Despite losing its quarterback, two wide receivers and having a defense that struggled at points last season, the national coaches say Wisconsin is the 12th-best team in the nation to start the 2008 season.

MADISON - The Big Ten was well represented in the preseason USA Today Coaches' Poll with five programs appearing among the top 25, equaling the Big 12 and the SEC for the lead among all conferences. Ohio State topped the Big Ten at No. 3 nationally, followed by No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 19 Illinois, No. 22 Penn State and No. 24 Michigan.

The Buckeyes tied for second among all teams with 14 first-place votes to rank third in the preseason coaches' poll behind No. 1 Georgia (22 first-place votes) and No. 2 Southern California (14). Ohio State is aiming for a fourth straight Big Ten title this season and was chosen as the conference's preseason favorite.

Wisconsin enters the 2008 picked to finish second in the conference and has played in four consecutive January bowl games, a total that ranks third behind only Southern California and West Virginia. Illinois, picked to finish third in conference, was rated 19th after compiling nine wins for the first time since 2001 and making its first Rose Bowl appearance since 1984.

Wisconsin opens the season on August 30 at home against Akron. Kickoff is at 11:00 a.m.

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