Wisconsin Football: What Are the Badgers' BCS Bowl Chances at No. 10?

Sam OlesonCorrespondent IOctober 26, 2010

IOWA CITY, IA - OCTOBER 23- Quarterback Scott Tolzien #16 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates with teammates Isaac Anderson #6 and Bradie Ewing #34 after their the University of Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Iowa City, Iowa. Wisconsin won 31-30 over Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
David Purdy/Getty Images

After two program-defining wins in the past two weekends, Wisconsin sits at No. 10 in the latest BCS standings—one of three one-loss teams in the top 10 along with Oklahoma and Alabama.

With their remaining schedule—at Purdue and Michigan and home against Indiana and Northwestern— it is certainly feasible that the Badgers could win out and finish the year 11-1.

However, despite those two impressive wins and the potential to finish the year with just one loss, Wisconsin is going to need a lot of help if they have any shot at the BCS National Championship.

A lot of help.

Basically, they would need everyone currently ahead of them in the standings to lose once, if not twice. Then, because of their relatively weak schedule to close out the year, the Badgers would have to hope a team like Ohio State or Nebraska doesn't leap them in the standings.

So no, at No. 10 in the BCS standings, Wisconsin doesn't have a great shot at the BCS national title. Some experts, including ESPN's Christian Fauria, picked the Badgers as a darkhorse to win the national title in 2010, but it just doesn't look like that's going to happen.

If this were 2007, in which two-loss LSU played in the title game, it would be reasonable to believe Wisconsin still has a shot. But, it's not 2007.

But, a shot at BCS bowl game is another story.

If the Badgers can win out, a BCS bowl game—either the Rose Bowl or an at-large bid—is certainly within reach.

For Wisconsin to reach the Rose Bowl, they would have to hope Michigan State loses twice because the Spartans own the tiebreaker against the Badgers due to their 34-24 win earlier this month.

Not impossible, but not probable either.

However, with their wins against both Ohio State and Iowa, an at-large bid is looking like much more like a realistic possibility assuming the Badgers can go 4-0 the rest of the way.

But, as ESPN's Adam Rittenberg points out in his latest blog post, Wisconsin could be left out of the BCS even with an 11-1 record.

If Michigan State does indeed go undefeated, they would head to the Rose Bowl. Then, if both Ohio State and Wisconsin finish 11-1, it would be up to the bowls themselves to decide who to take. Because Wisconsin won the head-to-head, they would likely be chosen.

But, as Rittenberg points out, what if Michigan State loses to Iowa this weekend, then both Wisconsin and Ohio State win out the rest of the way?

All three teams would be 7-1 in conference play to end the year.

Because of tiebreaker rules in this situation, the team with the highest BCS ranking would go to the Rose Bowl while the other two teams would fight it out for the at-large bid. And, despite losing to Wisconsin, Ohio State may just be the highest-ranked team in the Big Ten.

Then, in terms of the at-large bid, although Wisconsin may be higher in the BCS rankings, the Badgers may be passed over in favor of the Spartans because of their head-to-head matchup.

But, there is still a lot of season left.

Wisconsin just needs to rest up this week before they get back into the swing of things in two weeks against Purdue.

However, if Badger fans know what's good for them, they'll be cheering for the Spartans to win out. Yeah, it sounds strange, but an undefeated MSU team may actually help get the Badgers to a BCS bowl.