Hear me out on this one. Deep in my soul, I very much want Iowa to beat Minnesota on Saturday. But I started doing some thinking, and I could be convinced to welcome the opposite. The object of this exercise is to get the Badgers to the Rose Bowl. Here we go!
There are currently six Big Ten teams that have 2 losses or fewer:
Ohio State 9-0
Penn State 8-1
Let's assume the following: Ohio State wins their remaining regular season games. That means handing Penn State loss #2 and Michigan a third loss. Indiana has to play Michigan and Penn State in their next two games. I think a split is the best case scenario for the Hoosiers, giving them at least 3 loses, but they should lose both. Minnesota beats Iowa and Northwestern, meaning that they are undefeated when they play Bucky. Wisconsin wins their next two games. Wisconsin then beats Minnesota, but Minnesota would have already clinched the West. Minnesota then becomes the sacrificial offering from the West, not Wisconsin. Minnesota gets beat, probably badly, by OSU just like everyone else. Ohio State, by virtue of being undefeated, goes to the CFB Playoffs, so the Rose Bowl picks another team. In this scenario, their options would include:
Penn State 10-2
Michigan and Indiana each have more than two losses. Would the Rose Bowl pick Wisconsin over Minnesota by virtue of the head-to-head win? Given the transitive thinking of Wisconsin > Minnesota > Penn State, the Badgers would appear to be the pick. Wisconsin's CFP ranking would likely be in the 7 to 9 range, and probably the highest of the three. At the very least, Wisconsin gets a NY6 Bowl berth.
Given the above, I could be convinced to treat a Minnesota win on Saturday as a good thing for Wisconsin. This is obviously assuming a lot, but I think that these are reasonable assumptions. The goal is always to win the Big Ten, but winning a Rose Bowl for the first time since 1999/2000 would be a good consolation. The counterargument to this is the thought of PJ Fleck talking about a Big Ten West championship for 8 months. That might be enough to tip the balance. What say you, Badger fans?