As a Badger alum living in Florida, I'm getting more and more excited that the Badgers will probably be playing in Florida for a Bowl Game. I see us mocked for the Orange Bowl if we're BCS eligible, or certainly the Capital One Bowl or Outback Bowl if not.
But it's the Orange Bowl that intrigues me. While not quite the Rose Bowl, it's still a big time BCS Bowl. And I could attend. :)
Looking at the BCS Standings, I realize we're only one spot out from being eligible. I'm not quite a good-enough BCS geek to know what the teams below us could do, but I'm looking at the standings above us and figuring out who we could pass. Here is how I see things, and who we need to root for in the next couple weeks:
14 Northern Illinois: As I type they are beating a 1-10 Western Michigan team to finish their season
13 Oregon: They are unlikely to lose to Oregon State. But if OSU can pull off the upset in the fierce rivalry, we could pass a 9-3 Oregon team. This weekend: we want an OSU victory.
12 Arizona State: Here is where is starts to get interesting. On the one hand, our loss plays better the higher ranked they are; on the other hand a loss to a solid Arizona team or a loss in the PAC12 Championship probably drops them below us. This weekend: an Arizona win over ASU. However, a strong finish by ASU and a Pac12 Championship only helps put our loss in perspective and we might not want them to fall if we can pass another team.
11 Michigan State: To me this one has the most implications. If Michigan State, ranked ahead of us in the BCS, easily beats the Gophers and then loses a close game to Ohio State in the B1G championship, it seems like it would be hard to put us into a BCS game ahead of them. This weekend: a Minnesota upset makes our win against the Gophers worth more, and most likely drops the Spartans out of the top 14 heading into the B1G Championship Game. Much as I hate to do it, I have to root hard for a Gophers victory.
10 South Carolina: This might be another big one for us. If Clemson beats South Carolina, the Gamecocks are 9-3 and one would think they drop below us. On the other hand, Clemson only has one loss and could possibly stay above us if they lose. This weekend: a victory by Clemson, especially a big one, helps us.
9 Baylor: Stung by their loss to Oklahoma State, the Bears would drop a lot more if they lose to TCU this weekend. Not likely, but it would help. The following weekend they play Texas. This weekend: We should hope TCU pulls off the upset.
8 Stanford: Stanford faces an 803, #25 Notre Dame team this weekend. a loss by Stanford could possibly drop them below us. They're 9-2 with some solid wins, but would they drop below us at 9-3? I'll let the stat geeks figure that one out. This weekend: Can Notre Dame beat Stanford?
At the end of the day, the Badgers have to take care of Penn State. Assuming they do, and a few of the above scenarios play out, the Badgers could be looking at an Orange Bowl bid. I know the BCS process is more complicated than I've laid out, but this is a start at looking at the weekend and for which teams we should be cheering.