Big Ten Wrestling Power Rankings: Is it Penn State Wrestling and everyone else?

Penn State's Carter Starocci, right, wrestles Virginia Tech's Mekhi Lewis at 174 pounds in the finals during the sixth session of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, Saturday, March 19, 2022, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mich.220319 Ncaa Session 6 Wr 056 Jpg
Penn State's Carter Starocci, right, wrestles Virginia Tech's Mekhi Lewis at 174 pounds in the finals during the sixth session of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, Saturday, March 19, 2022, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mich.220319 Ncaa Session 6 Wr 056 Jpg /
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Wisconsin’s Austin Gomez gets introduced before wrestling at 149 pounds in the finals during the third session of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships, Sunday, March 6, 2022, at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.220306 Big Ten Wr 022 Jpg
Wisconsin’s Austin Gomez gets introduced before wrestling at 149 pounds in the finals during the third session of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships, Sunday, March 6, 2022, at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.220306 Big Ten Wr 022 Jpg /

809. . . . Badgers . 7. team

Dual Rank: 13
Record: 2-1
Ranked Wrestlers: 8
125 No. 9 Eric Barnett
133 No. 17 Taylor LaMont
141 No. 18 Joe Zargo
149 No. 4 Austin Gomez
157 No. 17 Garrett Model
165 No. 5 Dean Hamiti
197 No. 20 Braxton Amos
285 No. 12 Trent Hillger

On paper it appears like the Badgers have one of the most solid lineups top to bottom in the Big Ten. But wrestling isn’t contested on paper, it’s contested forehead to forehead on the mat and a lot of time rankings don’t mean anything.

Take for example Wisconsin’s first two dual meets on the season in the Battle in the River City Tournament, a 35-3 beatdown of Chattanooga and a 31-6 whooping of Buffalo. So far so good for Bucky Badger.

Then came the matchup against No. 10 (at the time No. 14) Iowa State in the finals. Most wrestling fans would expect a fairly tight dual meet and I would venture to guess most people would have Wisconsin winning.

Well, as it turns out with most of my predictions, I could not be more wrong.

Iowa State absolutely throttled Wisconsin to the tune of 26-6. Every single ranked Badger wrestler, outside of Garrett Model, took a loss in the dual meet. This includes two grapplers losing to lower ranked guys and an astonishing three losing to unranked wrestlers. Taylor LaMont, Joe Zargo, and top five ranked Austin Gomez all lost by a combined score of 29-13 in lopsided decisions.

Say what?

I have no clue what happened here. Maybe it was fatigue early in the season as all three dual meets were on the same day. Maybe illness? I honestly have no idea but Wisconsin will need to regroup and circle the wagons for the rest of the long season.

Next up for the Badgers is another massive matchup on the road against No. 6 Cornell on November 19th. It might be time to sound the alarm if Wisconsin gets blown out again.