The No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers (10-2 overall, 7-2 B1G) beat the No. 8 Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-2 overall, 7-2 B1G) at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon to claim Paul Bunyan’s Axe and the B1G West title.
Wisconsin now has one game left to play before bowl season, a rematch with the best team in the country, the Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0 overall, 9-0 B1G), in Indianapolis for the B1G title.
What sort of bowl implications did this past weekend have on the Badgers? Let’s take a look at where the experts have UW heading:
- CBS Sports: Rose Bowl (January 1st) Wisconsin vs. Oregon
- 247Sports: Rose Bowl (January 1st) Wisconsin vs. Oregon
- The Sporting News: Rose Bowl (January 1st) Wisconsin vs. Oregon
- Banner Society: Citrus Bowl (January 1st) Wisconsin vs. Auburn
- Bleacher Report: Wisconsin isn’t in a NY6 bowl. We’ll update once they do.
- ESPN’s Mark Schlabach: Citrus Bowl (January 1st) Wisconsin vs. Auburn
- ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura: Citrus Bowl (January 1st) Wisconsin vs. Auburn
So. It would appear that it is either The Rose Bowl against Oregon or the Citrus Bowl against Auburn for projections this week. That’s pretty great! Here are some interesting notes that CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm wrote in his post:
I have the Utes projected to the Cotton Bowl to face projected Group of Five representative and AAC champion Memphis. Wisconsin would play in the Rose Bowl following a projected Big Ten title game loss to Ohio State. No. 10 Penn State, which snoozed its way through a 27-6 win over Rutgers, is now expected to play in the Orange Bowl against Virginia.
Auburn at 9-3, despite its win over Alabama, can not be expected to make a New Year’s Six bowl. The current projection has Wisconsin and Penn State ahead of both Florida and Alabama this week and even after Wisconsin loses to Ohio State, perhaps even if the Badgers lose badly again. The committee has a history of being kind to championship game losers, and after all, Ohio State does beat everyone badly these days.
Penn State is already ranked ahead of Florida and is expected to still be in the final CFP Rankings because of a better schedule and higher-quality wins. Wisconsin will likely jump both this week after the win over Minnesota.
The final CFP rankings are what is used to fill out the Rose Bowl slot, assuming Ohio State makes the Playoff, and Wisconsin will have to be ranked ahead of Penn State to head to Pasadena.
To ensure a Rose Bowl bid, it would be in Wisconsin’s best interest to at least keep it close against Ohio State. There is little from the previous matchup this year that would lead me to believe that Wisconsin will do that, but the Badgers seemed like an entirely different team against Minnesota and maybe some of that will carry over to the B1G Championship game.
As far as the Badgers ending up in the Citrus Bowl, aka not in a New Year’s Six bowl, here is Banner Society’s Jason Kirk: “I figured Wisconsin beating Minnesota would be good for Penn State’s chances. Now I think it comes down to how the Badgers fare against Ohio State. If they play the Buckeyes really tough, they could land the Rose. If not, it’s probably Penn State.”
UPDATE (Monday, 5:22 p.m. CT): Here are a couple of more bowl projections we found on Monday afternoon.
- Watch Stadium’s Brett McMurphy: Gator Bowl (January 2nd) Wisconsin vs. Kentucky
- Athlon Sports: Citrus Bowl (January 1st) Wisconsin vs. Auburn
McMurphy’s projection is the “lowest” down the bowl totem poll that I’ve seen the Badgers so far. He has Penn State in the Rose Bowl vs. Oregon, Michigan in the Citrus Bowl vs. Auburn and Minnesota in the Outback Bowl vs. Tennessee.