The College Football Playoff selection committee announced their top four teams on Sunday: Michigan, Washington, Texas, and Alabama, who will now vie for a chance at the Championship this season.
But, for the rest of the field, efforts will now be focused into bowl season, and that group includes the Wisconsin Badgers, who are awaiting their bowl fate.
Over the past few weeks, the Badgers have been primarily projected to to Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee, where they could face a variety of SEC teams.
However, there’s been a major shakeup in the bowl game landscape that could alter where Wisconsin lands.
The NY6 Bowls
When it comes to bowl games, it all starts at the top, and there were some major changes during championship weekend.
Not only did Georgia lose to Alabama, dropping them from the No. 1 seed, but Texas skyrocketed to No. 3 and Florida State was also left out of the College Football Championship.
As a result, Alabama and Texas leapfrogged Ohio State, who came into the weekend at No. 6, while Florida State and Georgia dropped to No. 5 and No. 6, respectively.
That changes the outlook for the Orange Bowl, who selects the top two seeds between the ACC, SEC, and Big Ten.
Ohio State had long been projected to the Orange Bowl, but Florida State and Georgia will now take those spots, relegating the Buckeyes to one of the other New Years Six Bowls.
Why is this significant?
You may be asking: how does this impact Wisconsin?
Well, in the current contract situation with bowl games, when the Big Ten has an appearance in the Orange Bowl, the ACC gets the Big Ten’s spot in the ReliaQuest Bowl vs. the SEC.
However, in this case, the SEC has earned the spot in the Orange Bowl, which shuffles the bowl order, and the Big Ten re-gains its spot in the ReliaQuest Bowl.
The Big Ten will send their best-available team to the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl, where they’ll face the best-available SEC team.
In this case, Iowa is slated to earn the Big Ten’s bid, while Ole Miss is likely to get the SEC’s bid, should Missouri make a New Year’s Six bowl, as expected.
But, the Big Ten will send their second-best available team to the ReliaQuest bowl, rather than the Music City Bowl, now that they have re-gained their spot there, where they’ll face one of the SEC’s best teams.
Here, I’d expect that to be Wisconsin, who now gets an upgrade in their bowl game, and I’d envision their opponent to be LSU, who is the next-best SEC team at 9-3, including 6-2 in conference play.
Final bowl projection: Wisconsin vs. LSU in the ReliaQuest Bowl on Jan. 1, 2024 in Tampa, Florida.