The Wisconsin Badgers find themselves unranked with five losses. After an 11-2 season in 2010 and an 11-3 campaign in 2011, 2012 seems like a disappointment.
Thanks to some strange circumstances in the Big Ten, the Badgers will be representing the Leaders Division in the Big Ten championship game next week, with a Rose Bowl trip on the line. With many questioning if the Badgers are worthy of fighting for a trip to Pasadena, here three reasons why the Badgers are deserving of a Rose Bowl berth.
Both Ohio State (12-0) and Penn State (8-4) finished with a better record in the Leaders Division than Wisconsin. The idea that the Leaders Division representative in the Big Ten championship game is only the third-best team in the division does not sit well with some people.
Rules are rules, however, and both of those programs made themselves ineligible for the postseason.
The best team that is not ineligible is the Big Ten team worthy of a Rose Bowl berth; therefore, if the Badgers beat Nebraska in the championship game, they are by definition "worthy" of going to Pasadena.
The Wisconsin Badgers do have five losses on the year, but they do not have an egregious loss. They fell to an Oregon State team in Corvallis, Ore., that has been ranked most of the year, by a measly three points.
The Badgers' next loss was also by three points to a ranked Nebraska team in Lincoln. The Badgers' worst loss was probably to Michigan State at home; however, the Spartans are a very good football team, and that game was decided in overtime.
The Badgers blew out Indiana before losing painfully to Ohio State (the AP's No. 4 team) at home in overtime. Then this Saturday, Wisconsin lost on the road to Penn State. The Nittany Lions were playing what, for them, was a playoff game, and the crowd at Beaver Stadium was insane. The Badgers still managed to bring the game into overtime.
So, yes, while the Badgers have five losses, they have not really laid an egg all season.
It is really very simple, the winner of the Big Ten championship game goes to the Rose Bowl.
Wisconsin will beat the Huskers.
The Badger fell to Nebraska earlier in the season, but the game was insanely close. Unlike the regular-season matchup, this game will be on a neutral field. Considering the Badgers played the Huskers within three points in Lincoln, the lack of home-field advantage for Nebraska may be enough for Wisconsin to squeak out the win.