The first BCS Standing is out and it has the Wisconsin Badgers ranked sixth. While this sounds good it does not seem as high as this team merits.
The Badgers have won all six of their games with a margin of 30 points or more. This is the first time this has happened for any team in FBS (that’s Football Bowl Subdivision for the abbreviation challenged among us) for over 50 years.
So why is this team sixth and can they move up in time for the Championship Game?
The BCS is comprised of The Harris Poll, The USA Today Coaches Poll, and a compilation of six computer calculations. The Harris Poll and the Coaches Poll both have the Badgers currently at No. 4 behind only Oklahoma, Alabama and LSU.
This leaves the computers which have decided they don’t like Wisconsin so far this year. Or rather they don’t like the Badgers schedule. The computers have Wisconsin currently ranked at No. 11.
The computer calculations use a team’s schedule and who the teams you have played have also played against and how they have done in those games. The teams on the Badgers' schedule to this point have been overall extremely poor.
The only exception is Nebraska who are themselves No. 13 in the BCS standings. Other than that, the rest of the teams the Badgers have played are 6-19 not including lower division South Dakota.
Wisconsin has not historically set itself a tough non-conference schedule. They have not been looking to set up a resume for a national championship season. They are more interested in setting up their team to be ready for the conference season and then making a run for the Rose Bowl. But this year’s team is different.
The addition of Russell Wilson to an already strong team, has made this team a legitimate BCS title game contender. The play of teams Wisconsin beat, like UNLV and Oregon State, are doing little to help the Badgers' chances of getting to a title game.
In the weeks ahead Wisconsin will play Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois, and Penn State who at this point have a combined record of 21-6 among them. This will ratchet up the computer score for the Badgers. Games against Purdue and Minnesota round out the schedule and will do little to assist the Badgers championship hopes.
In addition, if they go through this portion of their schedule unblemished, they will play in the first Big 10 Conference Championship game. This will be against another high win team, most likely Michigan or a rematch with Nebraska.
Wins against teams with winning records–specially wins on the road, will move the computer score up for the Badgers and the expectation is that they will vault over Boise State–who currently sits one spot ahead of Wisconsin in the BCS.
Of the remaining four teams ahead of the Badgers, LSU plays Alabama on November 5 and Oklahoma plays Oklahoma State on December 3.
Thus, the way appears cleared for the Badgers to go to No. 3 in the BCS. But barring a setback to one of the winners of the above listed games, the Badgers do not have the strength of schedule needed to vault an unbeaten Big 12 or SEC team.
The goal for any Big 10 team is still to get to the Rose Bowl. This team looks to have a great shot at doing that. But to make a run at a national championship, the Badgers are going to need some assistance and some losses by other teams ahead of them.