A chance? Hell, yeah, there’s a chance. When it comes to Wisconsin and the College Football Playoff …
Me, after Michigan and Washington lost last night. https://t.co/3YlCmBi6CU
— stacy putnam (@StacyePutnam) November 13, 2016
… yes, Lloyd. We’re telling you exactly that.
Or rather, longtime bracketologist Jerry Palm of CBS Sports is.
“If they win the Big Ten, they’ve got a shot,” Palm told Land of 10 on Wednesday when asked about the surging fortunes of the equally surging Badgers (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten). “They’re going to get a conversation.”
A conversation, yes.
A certainty, no.
Wisconsin, No. 7 in last week’s CFP rankings, controls its destiny in the Big Ten West. On the national stage, though, not so much. Ohio State (9-1) beat the Badgers in overtime on Oct. 15. And even if the Buckeyes would somehow fail to clinch the Big Ten East’s berth in the league title game because of a loss at Penn State, some prognosticators — including Palm — feel the Buckeyes would have a stronger appeal to the CFP selection committee with one loss than the Badgers would with the two already on their ledger.
“We don’t have precedent from this committee in the situation where you’ve got Wisconsin at 11-2 and the Big Ten champions and Ohio State, who beat (the Badgers) earlier in the year, is 11-1 and didn’t play for the Big Ten championship,” said Palm, who on Sunday projected the Buckeyes to land in the final CFP spot at No. 4 and slotted the Badgers in the Rose Bowl against Utah. “There’s not a precedent for that situation.”
Just theories. Theories and speculation.
“There’s no precedent for what this committee will do with a team like Ohio State that (went) 11-1 but didn’t win its league,” Palm said.
So given all that, what’s left for a Wisconsin fan to do, other than hope?
1. Root for the Badgers to win out
2. Root for a rematch with Ohio State in the Big Ten title game — and a win said rematch
3. Root for a Michigan rematch in the Big Ten championship — and a win in said rematch
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Or something like that.
Michigan, No. 4 in the AP Poll, taking out No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus on Nov. 26 would give the Buckeyes a second loss — and set Bucky up with a chance to leapfrog both.
“The easiest path for Wisconsin is (if) Wisconsin beats Michigan for the Big Ten title,” Palm said. “Because they then avenge a loss (14-7 at Ann Arbor on Oct. 1), and Ohio State would have two losses also, because they’d have lost to Michigan.
“Because (the Buckeyes) have lost to Michigan, then (the Badgers) are the highest-rated team in the Big Ten and there isn’t any question that they’re the highest-rated team in the Big Ten.”
4. If you can’t get a Michigan rematch, then root for Washington and Louisville to really hit the skids
Basically, if everybody other than say, Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson bring two losses to the table, make sure that your two losses look sexier than everyone else’s two defeats.
“There is a scenario where both Wisconsin and Ohio State both get in,” Palm said. “(If) Washington falls off the chart and there is no Pac-12 champion that’s a playoff team.”
So now you’re cheering for whomever is playing the Huskies? Big-time?
“Sure,” Palm said. “I would say especially Washington.
“I think an 11-2 Wisconsin that’s a Big Ten champ would be ranked ahead of 11-1 Louisville. There’s no question in my mind that would be the case. The question in my mind is whether Ohio State would be ahead of Wisconsin (then).
“The reason Wisconsin is ahead of Louisville is Wisconsin would have played a significantly better schedule. Louisville’s schedule doesn’t match up to any Big Ten team’s schedules.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, statnik Jeff Sagarin had rated the Cardinal No. 4 overall but with the 64th-best strength of schedule. The Badgers were No. 8 with the No. 11 schedule; Ohio State No. 2 with the No. 31 schedule; Michigan No. 3 with the No. 49 schedule; Penn State No. 17 with the No. 29 schedule; and Nebraska No. 30 with the No. 55 schedule.
Washington? No. 6 with the No. 63 schedule.
The more teams on the table with two defeats, the better a two-loss Badgers squad looks all the time. And a chance to avenge one of those two setbacks could set Wisconsin up for something even better.
“We don’t know what this committee is going to do,” Palm said. “My guess is that Ohio State jumps them, but I could wrong. They could legitimately take Wisconsin and justify that.”