Wisconsin Football: What Needs To Happen for the Badgers To Win Big Ten

Sam OlesonCorrespondent INovember 15, 2010

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 04:  Montee Ball #28 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs for yardage against the UNLV Rebels during the third quarter of their game at Sam Boyd Stadium September 4, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wisconsin won 41-21.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

338 rushing yards. 598 total yards. 83 points.

In case you didn't hear, the Wisconsin Badgers put on the best offensive performance in Big Ten conference play in 60 years during their demolition of the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday afternoon.

Whether it was James White or Montee Ball; offense or defense; back-ups or starters, Indiana simply had no answer for the Badgers.

Yeah, yeah...that's impressive and all, but what did Wisconsin's historic 83-20 victory actually accomplish in their quest for a Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth?

Well—other than keeping pace with Ohio State and Michigan State—not a whole lot.

Yes, Wisconsin improved to 5-1 in conference play and 9-1 overall. Too bad that's identical to both MSU and OSU's records.

Also, because no one in front of them lost, Wisconsin stayed at No. 7 in the BCS despite the 63-point margin of victory.

So, at this point, if winning by 9 touchdowns didn't accomplish much, what can Wisconsin do to assure themselves of a trip to Pasadena?

They can beat Michigan and Northwestern these next two weeks, for one. If they don't do that, then nothing else matters.

But, will that assure them anything?

The simple answer is no.

If Wisconsin hopes to win the Big Ten, they need for one of two things to happen.

First, both Ohio State and Michigan State have to win their next two games (OSU v. Iowa, Michigan and MSU v. Purdue, Penn St.) and pray the Buckeyes don't jump them in the BCS standings.

Now, if Wisconsin can thoroughly dominate the Wolverines and Wildcats these next two weekends, there's a pretty good shot they could stay ahead of Ohio State.

However, many experts believe that if the Buckeyes do end up beating the Hawkeyes in Iowa City (and do it convincingly), that could be enough to propel them past Wisconsin in the standings.

If all three teams end up at 11-1, the team ranked highest in the BCS would go to the Rose Bowl. In this situation, it's going to be either Wisconsin or Ohio State. The two teams' play in the next two weeks could determine the outcome of those final BCS standings.

But, there is another way the Badgers could win the Big Ten.

Fortunately, this one is much more clear-cut. Michigan State loses.

If the Spartans trip up against either the Boilermakers or Nittany Lions and Wisconsin wins out, the Badgers are Big Ten champs.

No strength-of-schedule comparisons. No computer rankings. No BCS standings.

Because of their head-to-head tiebreaker with the Bucks, Wisconsin would be Big Ten champs.

Now, Wisconsin's hopes for getting an at-large bid to a BCS bowl is a completely different story. But that's a topic for another day.

No, Wisconsin is in no way in control of their destiny when it comes to winning the Big Ten. All they can do is play like they did against the Hoosiers and hope for the best.