The brand new College Football Playoff rankings are out and the B1G West division champion Wisconsin Badgers (10-2 overall, 7-2 B1G) are the No. 8 team in the country. The biggest competition that Wisconsin will face for the B1G’s Rose Bowl berth is the Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2 overall, 7-2 B1G).
The Nittany Lions are the No. 10 team in the country, with only the Florida Gators separating the two B1G teams. The Badgers jumped up four spots in the CFP rankings after going on the road and beating the Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-2 overall, 7-2 B1G) for Paul Bunyan’s Axe and a trip to Indianapolis.
The committee, apparently, didn’t think too highly of the Gophers body of work as they plummeted down to No. 18 in the newest rankings.
Big 10-spot dive for the #Gophers in the College Football Playoff rankings. No. 10 to No. 18. Wisconsin up to No. 8 after beating the Gophers this past weekend.— Megan Ryan (@theothermegryan) December 4, 2019
And, well, to be fair...the Gophers body of work DID kind of suck. Yeah, they beat Penn State, but they lost to Iowa and Wisconsin and didn’t really play a whole lot of anybody else the rest of the year.
So! The Badgers play the No. 1 team in the country, the Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0 overall, 8-0 B1G), on Saturday in the B1G Championship game. Wisconsin has already lost to the Buckeyes (by a lot) this season, but, so has everyone else. Ohio State is really good, you guys.
If we are being honest with ourselves, the Badgers are most likely going to lose to Ohio State on Saturday. What does that mean for Wisconsin’s chances of making the Rose Bowl though? What does losing in a title game as opposed to not making one mean for Wisconsin and Penn State?
In terms of whether Wisconsin can stay in Rose w/ a loss:— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 4, 2019
In 2015, Iowa (12-1) lost in Big Ten title game but stayed above 11-1 Ohio St to go to Rose Bowl. They hadn't played.
In 2016, Colorado (10-3) lost in Pac-12 title game but fell behind 9-3 USC, who it had lost to.
Well, the records are the same for the Badgers and Nittany Lions. Both teams finished the regular season at 10-2. Wisconsin has beaten three teams currently ranked in the CFP while Penn State has only beaten two.
Both teams lost at Ohio State, with PSU probably having the “better” loss, while Penn State lost at Minnesota and the Badgers, obviously, didn’t. The final piece of the puzzle is the fact that Wisconsin’s second loss was to...Illinois. Clearly the worst loss of any of the four losses between these two teams, but by no means disqualifying since the Illini are actually bowl eligible this year.
Mullens on Wisconsin being the highest-ranked two-loss team: Three wins over Top 25 teams, losses to Ohio State and "close loss" to Illinois. "We see them as a balanced team."— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 4, 2019
For more info on what the Rose Bowl prefers, check what Bob found out on the official website.
The final CFP rankings come out on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. CT and we at B5Q will have much more of the implications for the Badgers.