MADISON, Wis. - October is ending, and people around Madison are getting into the spirit of Halloween by putting up decorations, carving pumpkins, and planning their costumes for the weekend. But the end of October also brings extra mystery to the college football world as well.
The much-maligned BCS computer rankings, a set of formulas designed to rank college football's best teams, are starting to take shape in their second week of publication. And, unsurprisingly, the computers aren't fond of the Wisconsin Badgers.
To be fair, they weren't high on the Badgers to begin with. The Badgers ended up at No. 6 in the first BCS standings, two spots below where the human polls had put them. And now, after losing 37-31 to Michigan State on a Hail Mary, the Badgers dropped to No. 15, one spot below the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
So how do the Badgers deal with a set of computers that never seem to like them? For the most part, they just shrug it off.
"I don't deal with witchcraft," junior center Peter Konz joked after practice Tuesday. "I don't dabble in this wizardry of ‘Hogwarts BCS School.'"
"I don't know how a computer can sense what team's hot, emotions ... what is this, Terminator 2?"
The computers have Wisconsin ranked 24th in the nation on average, including one set of rankings which has the Badgers unranked. It's obvious the Badgers and their fans have a hard time believing a team can go from being 6th in the nation to 15th, on the basis of a Hail Mary completion to end the game. Konz also mentioned that the Badgers probably take a hit from playing in the Big Ten, which is usually regarded as a less-than tough conference.
"They just [see a] loss," Konz said, "And the computers don't think that the Big Ten is as strong as the Big 12 and the SEC. It's just the way it is."
Luckily for Konz and the Badgers, with a loss already on their record, the BCS rankings don't matter as much anymore. While the BCS standings may determine who plays in the national championship game, they have no control over who plays in the Rose Bowl, or any other BCS bowl. So the Badgers don't need to worry about whether a non-conscious entity likes them - they just need to get back to business and try to get back on the winning track.
"I'm only here for four to five years," Konz said. "I can't change it. I'm not even worried about it. As long as we take care of our business, we'll end up where we need to end up."
News and Notes
-- I spoke with Montee Ball today- he seems ready to go after taking that hit to the head against Michigan State. He mentioned he had to wear a green "no-contact" jersey during practice, but it sounded like a precautionary move by the coaches.
-- Konz also mentioned that the team doesn't want to play Ohio State thinking that the Badgers have the upper hand. Ohio State is still Ohio State, and they've earned his respect, so he won't underestimate the Buckeyes on Saturday.