Keep your fingers crossed Badger’s fans

campusinsiders.com

Cal U'Ren, Staff Reporter

When discussing Big Ten football and the upcoming college football playoff, only three things need to be remembered heading into this weekend: Ohio State was enshrined, Jim Harbaugh whined, and the Wisconsin Badgers shined.

While the nations’ eyes were glued to “The Game” between Ohio State and Michigan, just a few hours later the Wisconsin Badgers overcame a sluggish first half to score 24 unanswered on Minnesota. With Michigan essentially being eliminated from playoff contention with two losses and no conference championship to play for, and Ohio State retaining their national ranking of two with a win, it was up to Wisconsin to handle their business accordingly on senior night.

They did so in predictable fashion, playing incredible defense, running the ball, and shattering “rival” Minnesota’s hopes of gaining the Paul Bunyan Axe back after over a decade straight without it.

The Badgers are still considered an outside shot to take a position in the top four, needing to both win their championship game against a tough Pennsylvania State University team, and get some help along the way. In national media much of the attention has been focused on Penn State, with no apparent logical reasoning behind the coverage. Both teams traveled to Michigan this season and were handed a loss.

Wisconsin’s was a seven-point nail biter; Penn State’s was finished before halftime came, with the final score being 49 to 10 in favor of the Wolverines. Penn State also lost to Pittsburgh University, a four-loss team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, a much weaker group than the Big Ten. The Badgers other loss came at the hands of Ohio State in overtime, in a game many felt they deserved to win but allowed it to slip away from them in the end.

Alabama and Ohio State are undoubtedly the only two locks for the playoff, leaving two slots open for the taking with another week of colossal games coming. Clemson faces The Virginia Tech Hokies in a game they are considered tremendous favorites in, with a significant gap in talent and resume between both teams. Washington University will challenge Colorado University for the Pacific-12 Conference title in a game that is being favored Washington’s way, but could be a toss up. Both Washington and Clemson are one loss teams, should they both win Wisconsin will be left on the outside looking in, and deservedly so.

However, if either of the two falters the criteria stated from the college football selection committee should have an easy choice in sending Wisconsin through.

The selection committee judges through “considering conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition, comparative outcomes of common opponents, and other relevant factors that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or likely will affect its postseason performance.” When applying these criteria to each team still vying for a spot in the top four Wisconsin exemplifies what is needed. With a win over Penn State they would be conference champions in the deepest out of the power five conferences.

They will have played a top-10 nationally ranked strength of schedule and added an additional win versus a top-10 opponent to their resume. The Badgers will still have a head-to-head loss to number five-ranked Michigan. Both teams also share a common loss to Ohio State, but with Michigan’s second loss to unranked Iowa being significantly more detrimental to their chances this should ensure they bypass the number 5 ranking.

It is now up to the committee to stand by their criteria that conference championships and head-to-head games matter, with an additional win against a top-ten opponent to end the year being the final statement needed. Ideally the badgers still need Clemson or Washington to lose, with a blowout upset giving them the most certainty. If the college football playoff truly is supposed to feature the “four best teams” in the country, then Wisconsin has already made a blatantly good claim to be considered. Although they may not be a flashy offense or feature any Heisman Trophy contenders, it has been proven they can play with any upper echelon team in the nation. All that is left is for the playoff committee to allow them to validate this on the biggest stage possible.

 

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