Wisconsin is undefeated and ranked No. 5. It seems obvious that if the Badgers win out, they would be a lock to make the four-team College Football Playoff.
Well, maybe not.
ESPN went through some “chaos theory” scenarios that would lead to major questions and debate over which teams would make the College Football Playoff. One of the early theories is that 13-0 Wisconsin would not make the cut.
If that happens, the Badgers would be the first undefeated Power 5 conference champion to not make the playoff.
ESPN compared this season’s Badgers to Iowa in 2015. The Hawkeyes took advantage of a favorable schedule that did not include Ohio State or Michigan and got to 12-0. Iowa was ranked No. 4 when it lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Wisconsin’s schedule is the reason why ESPN thinks it’s at least possible that an undefeated Badgers team would miss the semifinals. Though Wisconsin is 6-0, none of its opponents are better than .500. While the Badgers do get Michigan in Madison, Wis., on Nov. 18, the Wolverines don’t look to be as strong as initially thought. Of course, Wisconsin could meet an undefeated Penn State or a one-loss Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game.
But if Alabama is 13-0, Georgia is 12-1 (losing only to Alabama), Notre Dame is 11-1 (losing only to Georgia) or Miami is undefeated, things could get tricky.
As ESPN seems to imply, a 1-loss Wisconsin team that’s a Big Ten champion would have an uphill climb because of its schedule.
One thing is for sure: With a schedule like Wisconsin’s, there’s no margin for error
Last season, the Badgers went 11-3, lost to Penn State in the Big Ten Championship Game and beat Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl.