I think the truth is that we don't yet really know how good we are, or aren't. We have only had one true high level test (Arizona) and we lost at home. The rest of the teams we have played thus far are not great, and we have lost to two of them. The combined record of the Big Ten teams we have played, in conference, is 5-11 (5-7 if you remove the 4 losses to IL from their conference records), and the only one with a winning record (Rutgers), we played with one of their best players (Geo Baker) out. In past years, we would routinely note of other teams above us in the B1G standings early in the year "they haven't really played anyone yet". This year, we are the team who "hasn't really played anyone yet".
The good news is that we are beating teams that we absolutely need to beat in order to compete for a B1G title, and get a high NCAA seed, we continue to win on the road in the B1G, and fairly soon we should have an idea of how "good" we truly are. Our OER and DER numbers suggest that we are going to be fine. Given our resume lacks quality wins (due in large part to a lack of opportunities that the article points out), we can't afford missteps (like a road loss to NE).
Based on the pattern we have seen with Coach Underwood in the past two years (perform poorly early and improve over the course of the year, be an absolute road warrior in the B1G, peak in Feb./March) we can project that we will end up at or near the lead of the Big Ten and high in the national rankings, but we still have to do it, so I'm frankly okay with the lack of "respect" in the polls.