INDIANAPOLIS — In basketball, there’d be an asterisk. Or a footnote. Because it’s a fact: Vince Biegel, one of the best players on the Wisconsin football team and arguably its best defender, didn’t play against Michigan or Ohio State.
The Badgers (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) lost both games — their only two losses in a season that culminated in a Big Ten West crown and a berth in the 2016 Big Ten Championship Game against No. 7 Penn State.
To put it another way, with Biegel, the senior outside linebacker with the gonzo haircut and Tasmanian Devil engine, Wisconsin’s regular season record was 8-0.
Without him: 0-2.
Surely, that has to start some conversation among the College Football Playoff selection committee, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?
“Yes, but it’s probably not going to be significant,” CBS Sports bracketologist Jerry Palm told Land of 10 before the the Big Ten title showdown between the No. 6 Badgers and Nittany Lions. “You can’t ignore the loss, right?”
Oh, right. That.
No, you can’t ignore it, and head-to-head results trump almost everything in this case. Biegel or no Biegel, the Badgers fell at home to Ohio State, 30-23 in overtime, on Oct. 15.
Wisconsin’s only other setback during the regular season was at No. 5 Michigan, a 14-7 setback on Oct. 1.
One of the teams the Badgers are trying to jump, No. 4 Washington (12-1), routed No. 8 Colorado, 41-10, on Friday night in the Pac-12 title game. No. 3 Clemson (11-1) takes on Virginia Tech in the ACC football championship Saturday.
As a team, Wisconsin recorded four sacks at Michigan and two against Ohio State. The Badgers went into Saturday evening averaging 2.6 sacks per game, fifth-most in the Big Ten.
Wiscosnin linebacker Garrett Dooley, one of Biegel’s understudies, recorded a sack and seven tackles against the Wolverines. Another, Zack Baun, picked up a season-high six stops and a tackle for a loss in Biegel’s stead against the Buckeyes.
Biegel, who missed three weeks recovering from a surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot after Wisconsin’s 30-6 win at Michigan State on Sept. 24, has accounted for three sacks and five tackles for losses in his first 10 games.
In his Badgers career, the senior never appeared against Michigan — Wisconsin didn’t play the Wolverines from 2011-2015 — and only faced Ohio State once, in the 2014 Big Ten Championship game.
“(The CFP committee) will make a note of it,” Palm continued. “But even in hoops, it’s not like the game counts as a win — or not a loss.
“The game is what it is.”
It’s history. A discussion point. A necessary detail. But, if precedent is any guide, not one the selection committee is likely to sweat.