Update: November 25, 2016
If the Badgers win out and win the conference championship game, it will be hard to keep them out, even with two losses. Here are the teams to root for and against if you want to see Wisconsin in the Playoff.
Root For: Michigan, slightly
Thought a tougher opponent than Penn State, meeting Michigan in the Big Ten Championship would be a chance for Wisconsin to get revenge and make it into the Playoff. A win over two-loss Penn State may not carry as much weight, though it may lift the Badgers to the Playoff. Ohio State, even with a win over Michigan, will not be in the B1G Championship Game due to tiebreakers.
Root Against: Ohio State
If Ohio State loses to Michigan, the Buckeyes will not make the Playoff. If Michigan loses to Ohio State, they still might and Wisconsin might not. In the end, it makes more sense to root against Ohio State than Michigan in The Game, as a loss by Michigan to Ohio State and a win by Wisconsin over Michigan would easily give the Badgers a bid into the Playoff.
Root For: Coastal Division Champion
Right now ,Virginia Tech is in a position to win the Coastal Division and play in the conference championship game, likely against Clemson. Root for them in this game because then the ACC may get no teams with a two-loss conference champion. Again, the committee will have to choose between Virginia Tech or Wisconsin, but the Hokies’ losses to Tennessee and Syracuse look worse and worse by the week,
Root Against: Clemson
Clemson is ranked fourth in the CFB rankings and has a clear path to the Playoff. If the Tigers win the ACC, they are in, barring the unforeseen. If they lose the championship game the committee will have to decide between two-loss Clemson and two-loss conference champion Wisconsin. It’s anybody’s guess which way that will go. In short, the ACC is going to get one team in, but if they get two, Wisconsin has no chance.
Root For: Defense
Nobody in the conference really plays it, and it would be cool to see every once in a while.
Root Against: Oklahoma, if you want
The Big 12 is not getting a playoff team unless there is chaos at the top of the standings. Oklahoma is the highest-ranked team in the conference, and they could still make a move with their backloaded schedule, but without a conference championship game and without much respect for the conference, Oklahoma does not have much of a chance. But they have the Big-12’s best chance.
Root For: PAC-12 South Champion
It will be up to the South Division Champion to beat the Huskies in the conference championship. Washington likely will not get into the Playoff without a conference championship, and the South Champion (likely Colorado, USC, or Utah) will have a chance to beat them.
Root Against: Washington
Any loss by the Huskies puts their Playoff hopes on thin ice and opens a spot for Wisconsin. This is the race to watch and the team to root hardest against.
Root For: Alabama
Alabama is going to make the Playoff. If they win out they will be the only SEC team in the Playoff. Even if they lose out they will probably make the Playoff. Just make sure they win so Wisconsin does not have to worry about competing against a second SEC team.
Root Against: Auburn, SEC East Champion
If Auburn wins the Iron Bowl and the conference championship, they are going to make the Playoff over Wisconsin. If the SEC East champion (who could be anybody at this point) beats Alabama in the conference championship game, things get interesting. For the SEC, interesting will be bad.
GROUP OF 5
With Western Michigan as the highest ranked group of 5 team at 21, it is unlikely that they will make any sort of run toward the Playoff. Look for them in a New Year’s Six Bowl.
Original Post: October 27, 2016
In the first two years of the College Football Playoff, no two-loss team has been in the top four. While it may be a bit premature, there is still hope for Wisconsin to make the playoff even with their two losses. The first step if for the Badgers to win out and hopefully make it to and win the Big Ten championship game. This will not be easy, but it is not impossible. They are going to need a lot of help along the way. Below are the teams and scenarios in each conference that you will want to root for if the Badgers have any chance of making the playoff
Root For: Michigan
If the Badgers are going to get into the playoff, they will be one of two Big Ten teams in the playoff. Right now the team with the best chance of making the playoff is Michigan. Wisconsin needs to hope that they can meet and beat an undefeated Michigan in the Big Ten Championship game to cement themselves as the second best team in the Big Ten. In this scenario, Wisconsin’s losses to Ohio State and Michigan are better than Ohio State’s losses to Michigan and Penn State.
Root Against: Nebraska, Ohio State
Besides rooting against Nebraska this week, the Huskers still need to lose one more game if they fall to the Badgers this week. The most likely time for this to happen is in two weeks when they travel to Ohio State. If Nebraska loses twice, then Wisconsin will be in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten West.
Save your rooting against Ohio State for The Game on November 26. If Ohio State wins this game and then loses to the Badgers in the championship game, it’s possible the Big Ten does not get any playoff teams. It would be best if Ohio State would lose convincingly to Michigan. I know it sucks to root for Michigan, but like I said, getting into the playoff is not easy.
Root For: Oklahoma, Anybody playing West Virginia or Baylor
With Oklahoma’s losses to Houston and Ohio State both taking hits this past weekend and with the Big 12 not having a championship game, it is unlikely that a two-loss Oklahoma would be a threat to make the playoff.
Root Against: West Virginia, Baylor
An undefeated Big 12 champion is the conference’s only hope of getting a playoff team. Right now West Virginia and Baylor are the two undefeated teams, and they play each other on December 3 in what could be a pseudo championship game. If either of these teams lose at some point, then it’s possible that the Big 12 will be left out of the playoff entirely due to weak scheduling and the lack of a championship game.
Root For: The Coastal Division Champion
Right now anybody from North Carolina, Virginia Tech or even Pittsburgh could represent the Coastal Divison in the ACC championship game. If any of those teams win the ACC, it’s likely they will not make the playoff. That will leave the committee to look at one-loss Clemson and Louisville and compare them to a two-loss conference champion (Wisconsin). That would be an interesting debate.
Root Against: Louisville, Florida State, Clemson (but not yet)
The worse Florida State looks, the worse the ACC looks, and the worse their chances at two playoff teams look. If Louisville loses again, they will likely be out of the conversation, and even if they win out, if it is not convincing, they may not get the nod. Clemson controls their own destiny, but if they trip up the ACC could fall into chaos. The ACC will probably get one team, but if they get two, then Wisconsin has no chance.
Root For: Washington State, Pac-12 South
Washington State has the best chance to beat Washington, according to ESPN’s FPI. If Washington State wins the so-called “Apple Cup” against Washington, then they will all but end the other UW’s playoff hopes. Same applies for the Pac-12 South champion who would meet Washington in the championship game if they survive the “Apple Cup”
Root Against: Washington
If the down Pac-12 does not get a playoff team, then the door is open for another conference to get two teams. Washington is the Pac-12’s best hope for a playoff team, but if they slip up before or in the conference championship game, then the conference may miss out altogether. Utah plays Washington this week, so either Utah will be out of the picture with two losses, or Washington suffers their first loss. Hope for the latter and see how things play out from there.
Root For: Alabama
For Wisconsin to make the playoff, the SEC can only have one playoff team. Alabama is all but guaranteed to make the playoff, and if they win the SEC they will be the conference’s only bid. If anybody else beats Alabama and wins the SEC championship, things could get very bleak for the Badgers.
Root Against: Potentially Florida, Abject Chaos
As of right now, Florida would represent the SEC East in the SEC championship game against Alabama. If they were to win that game, it would be difficult to keep them out of the playoff. Additionally, if LSU or Auburn picks off Alabama in the last month of the season then they will represent the SEC West in the Championship game. Could a two-loss SEC champion get in the playoff ahead of a two-loss Big Ten Champion? I’d rather not have to find out.
Root For: Houston
After Houston’s two losses it is unlikely that any group of five team will get into the playoff. Boise State or Western Michigan could make a case to get into a New Year’s Six bowl if they go undefeated. Still, no group of five team will make the playoff but Houston has a big chance to play spoiler in their November 17 game against Louisville.
Root Against: Don’t worry about it
Just focus on the big games, please.