Sports have always served as a distraction from the rest of the world, and hopefully, the Badgers will gain some votes of their own as the season winds down. With wins over Nebraska and Northwestern in the past two weeks, Wisconsin sits at No. 7 in the college football rankings. With a few weeks left in the regular season, and then conference championship games, there is still plenty of time for the Badgers to make their move. If they 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, Nebraska
Meeting an undefeated Michigan in the Big Ten Championship would be a chance for Wisconsin to get revenge and make it into the Playoff. If Michigan loses before the championship game they may still get into the Playoff with only one loss. Also, if Wisconsin beats an undefeated Michigan team it will give them a final marquee win that could propel them into the Playoff. A win over one-loss Ohio State may not carry as much weight, though it would also be nice.
Root for Nebraska because if they look better then Wisconsin looks better.
Root Against: Ohio State
If Ohio State loses to Michigan, they will not make the Playoff. If Michigan loses to Ohio State, they still might and Wisconsin might not. Just root against Ohio State. I know how fun that will be.
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: Louisville, Clemson
A second loss by Louisville will all but eliminate them from the Playoff as they play Wake Forest, Houston and Kentucky to end the season. A second loss and no conference championship would spell the end for the Cardinals.
Clemson is ranked second in the CFB rankings and has a clear path to the Playoff. A loss before and in the championship game would eliminate the Tigers. 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 one-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: Washington State, PAC-12 South Champion
Washington State plays Washington in the last week of the season, and winning that game would ruin Washington’s chances and keep them out of the conference championship game and likely out of the playoff race.
If Washington State fails to derail Washington before the conference championship game, then 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.