Indiana-Wisconsin Preview

The Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- - Wisconsin has won four straight and has a record to be proud of in November dating to 2006. It might not matter much in the BCS bowl race this season.

The 17th-ranked Badgers are 22nd in the BCS standings.

With three Big Ten games remaining, two against opponents with at least four losses, including Saturday's visit by Indiana (4-5, 2-3), it's conceivable that the Badgers (7-2, 4-1) could win their final seven games and still be on the outside of the top 14 of the BCS.

"In the back of everyone's head, they're wondering what's going on with the standings because we do care what bowl game we play in," senior safety Dezmen Southward said. "It's hard not to think about what possible games you could play in, but our job as players has to take it one game at a time. If we don't we won't be as successful as we have the past six weeks."

Since the start of the 2006 season, Wisconsin is 24-5 in November. Following its 27-17 win over BYU last Saturday, Wisconsin rose four spots in the AP poll, the biggest leap it's made this season.

The Badgers now get to face an Indiana team they have won eight straight against by an average of 35.4 points.

The Hoosiers have a high-powered offense under third-year coach Kevin Wilson, leading the conference and ranking 12th nationally with 327.4 passing yards per game. But they will likely be without sophomore running back Tevin Coleman (ankle), who leads the Big Ten in rushing touchdowns (12), is third in the conference in rushing yards per game (106.4) and tied for third in yards per carry (7.3).

"He's physical. He's tough minded, he's very fast," Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said of Coleman. "He's outran a lot of defenses. It's four or five runs of 40-plus yards this year for touchdowns. They'll miss him, but they've got other talented kids to go around."

Coleman was named the Big Ten's offensive player of the week after rushing 15 times for a career-high 215 yards and two touchdowns in a 52-35 victory over Illinois last Saturday that ended a three-game skid. He scored on runs of 75 and 64 yards and averaged 14.3 yards per carry.

If Coleman can't go, senior Stephen Houston - the former starter - would replace him. Houston has rushed for 536 yards and three TDs while also averaging 7.3 yards per carry.

Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland will have his sights set on trying to slow down the Hoosiers after he returned from a one-game absence due to a hamstring injury and had 13 tackles and two sacks against BYU.

"Indiana is a good offensive team and we'll be focused on them," Borland told the Badgers' official website. "I felt good and I just kind of let it loose."

Since the start of the BCS in the 1998 season, the Badgers have won 144 games, the 11th-most of any BCS team, and Wisconsin is one of just 13 programs to have won at least 70 percent of its games (144-59) during that period.

Andersen continues to avoid analyzing his team's seemingly perilous position in the rankings, but acknowledges the importance to the players to finish the regular season on a positive note.

"Everybody wants to play in as big a bowl and as big a stage as you can at the end of the year," Andersen said. "No one's ever going to say we don't want that in any way, shape, or form.

"As this team continues, they've labeled themselves as a good team, and they deserve it. Right now, if it was over, they'd be known as a good team regardless of what happens. They want to be a great team. If they're a great team, then they're going to play in a very, very prestigious bowl game at the end of the year wherever it may be."

Indiana needs to win two of its last three to become eligible for a bowl for the first time since the 2007 season.

"Our mindset is we're making strides, and this is an opportunity to show we're ready to make the next stride," Wilson said. "You want to do it this week, let's go up and fight and have a great week and have a great plan, put it together, go attack, go fight, and see what it is. ... I'm looking forward to seeing where the team is."

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