Big Ten Championship: Why Fans Should Root for Nebraska to Beat Wisconsin
With the Big Ten title game between Wisconsin and Nebraska slated for Dec. 1 in Indianapolis, college football fans should be rooting for the team more deserving of a Rose Bowl berth—Nebraska.
1. NCAA Sanctions Helped Wisconsin Reach Big Ten Championship
Unlike the Huskers, who fought their way to a 10-2 record and the top spot in the Big Ten Legends division, the Badgers reached the Big Ten Championship with the help of NCAA sanctions.
Despite a 4-4 record and the third spot in the Big Ten Leaders standings, the Badgers clinched a Big Ten title berth because of sanctions imposed on Ohio State and Penn State.
2. Ohio State Had an Undefeated Season in Leaders Division
The Buckeyes just capped off a perfect 12-0 season with a 26-21 win over Michigan. Technically, Ohio State was the best team in the Big Ten—possibly one of the best in the nation as well. And while I'm not refuting that the program shouldn't be punished, it seems unfair that a team like Wisconsin, which underachieved this season, should have the opportunity to smell the roses in Pasadena.
3. Penn State Has Winning Season Despite Controversy Stemming from Sandusky Scandal
Even Penn State—a football program that was heavily scrutinized because of the Jerry Sandusky scandal—managed to put together a winning season amid such controversy. The Nittany Lions went 6-2 in the Big Ten and 8-4 overall under Bill O'Brien, garnering the most wins ever by a first-year head coach at Penn State.
Penn State's football program may be deserving of the punishments it received, but the team still had a better season than Wisconsin.
4. Both Ohio State and Penn State Hold Victories over Wisconsin
What's even more convincing about these two programs is the fact that they both beat Wisconsin.
In the defensive battle with Ohio State, the Badgers had to come from behind late in the fourth quarter to tie up the ballgame with eight seconds left before going to OT.
After the Buckeyes kicked a field goal in overtime to grab the lead in OT, Wisconsin's offense failed to convert on their opposing drive resulting in a 21-14 loss.
Then, against Penn State, the Badgers had to rally yet again to score a game-tying touchdown with seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Penn State's Sam Ficken would hit a 37-yard field goal in OT to take the lead, and Wisconsin's Kyle French would miss his 45-yard attempt to hand the Badgers their second straight loss.
In both games, the Badgers were forced to scramble in the final seconds just to tie up the ballgame before going cold in OT.
5. Wisconsin Lost Steam Down the Stretch
Going into the Big Ten title game, you'd expect the two contenders to have really hammered it home in the final games of the season.
Nebraska did just that, winning their last six. Meanwhile, Wisconsin has lost three of their last four.
To put it simply, the Huskers have done everything expected from a Big Ten championship team worthy of the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin, on the other hand, has fallen short of the expectations.
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