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Wisconsin football: Badgers surge to No. 8 in week 15 CFP rankings (and I’m mad about it)

This is excellent news that’s got me BOILING MAD!

@B5QPhotos; Matt Fleming

The College Football Playoff (CFP) committee moved the Wisconsin Badgers (10-2 overall, 7-2 B1G) up four spots to No. 8 ahead of the B1G Championship against the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0 overall, 9-0 B1G).

Four other B1G colleagues join Wisconsin in the rankings: No. 10 Penn State, No. 14 Michigan, No. 16 Iowa and No. 18 Minnesota. Most notable here is that Minnesota fell ten spots for losing to Wisconsin and Michigan only fell one spot after losing to Ohio State.

The good: buffer with Penn State

I’m on record with the Santa stand-in at West Towne Mall when I whispered into his ear, “all I want for Christmas is a Rose Bowl.” Granted, he screamed in pain because his frail old body’s femurs broke when I hopped into his lap.

Hope that doesn’t void our his contractual duties as Santa.

The buffer with No. 10 Penn State is critical because the B1G strongly prefers that, should OSU go to the Playoffs and win the B1G championship, the Rose Bowl takes the top-ranked remaining B1G team. However, there is an exception to that rule. The Rose Bowl is allowed to use other factors if the contending teams are in a “cluster.” Check this from the Rose Bowl website:

“If the next-highest ranked team is in a ‘cluster’ of teams, meaning there is another team or teams from the same conference ranked within several spots of each other, the Tournament of Roses will select the team from that cluster that will result in the best possible matchup for the Rose Bowl Game,” said Rose Bowl Management Committee Chair Scott Jenkins.

In a cluster situation, the Tournament of Roses will take into account factors, in no particular order, such as: the last time a team played in the Rose Bowl Game, head-to-head results, regular season schedule, overall record, opponents played, past playoff or bowl appearances and performance, and historical matchups.

So, Wisconsin needs to at least hang around with Penn State to have a chance at the Rose Bowl, preferably holding above the Nittany Lions. To do that, Wisconsin will likely have to play better this weekend than it did in its previous 38-7 loss to OSU.

If it does play OSU somewhat, it is likely that Wisconsin will not be punished too severely. I point to Michigan only falling from No. 13 to No. 14 after losing 56-27 to Ohio State as evidence the committee may not be too harsh.

The infuriating: why is Baylor ahead of Wisconsin?

Is Baylor a better and/or more deserving team than Wisconsin? Maybe. But the committee has absolutely no business ranking Baylor above the Badgers.

Why? By their own metric. Let’s take a journey two weeks ago. The committee believed Wisconsin was better and/or more deserving than Baylor following the conclusion of week 12.

What has happened since then? Well, I made a table.

Baylor vs. Wisconsin since Week 12

Team Week 12 Ranking Week 13 result Week 14 result Current ranking
Team Week 12 Ranking Week 13 result Week 14 result Current ranking
Baylor No. 14 Beat Texas (7-5) Beat Kansas (3-9) No. 7
Wisconsin No. 12 Beat Purdue (4-8) Beat No. 8 Minnesota (10-2) No. 8

There is no doubt that Wisconsin has a better resume in the last two weeks than Baylor. So why flip them? Further, the committee chair indicated on ESPN that “there was a lot of discussion about four through seven,” indicating that there is a big gap between Baylor and Wisconsin.

Why the hate for Wisconsin, CFP committee (who moved Wisconsin up four spots)?????

So why is this important? Well, there is a scenario that could get Wisconsin into the playoffs. It all starts with Wisconsin beating OSU. Then, it requires Baylor, Oregon and LSU all winning their respective championship games. Finally, it requires the Committee to appreciate Wisconsin’s win over No. 1 OSU enough to jump Baylor’s win over Oklahoma.

Is this going to happen? Awwwww heck no. But I don’t want the Badgers to miss out on the playoffs if it does happen.

Final word

Wins over ranked teams is an awful metric to use because ranking teams based on wins over the ranked teams you ranked means you can decide the teams that are ranked whose losses are to the ranked teams you want to rank.