Wisconsin fans know what’s at stake in Minneapolis tomorrow when the Badgers take the field against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
With a win, the Badgers would finish the season with an 8-game win streak and a Big Ten West title after starting the season 1-3. With a loss, either Minnesota or Iowa will likely capture the division and the Badgers will fall a game short.
Well, there are other relevant games this weekend to the rest of Wisconsin’s season. Some have to do with the Big Ten picture, and some are more on the national stage.
Here is the complete Week 13 college football rooting guide for Wisconsin Badger fans:
Friday at 12:30 p.m. CST: Iowa at Nebraska
Oct 30, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz looks on during warmups prior to the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Iowa would eliminate Minnesota from Big Ten West contention with a win against an Adrian Martinez-less Nebraska team. However, I truly believe it would not have much of an effect on the Minnesota team we see on Saturday.
A Nebraska win would keep Minnesota in the race, yet also open a scenario where Wisconsin can lose Saturday and still win the division (Indiana would need to beat Purdue).
For that second reason, Wisconsin fans should be pulling for Nebraska today.
Saturday at noon CST: Ohio State at Michigan
Oct 9, 2021; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara (12) hands off the ball to running back Hassan Haskins (25) during the first quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
The winner of ‘The Game’ will meet the Big Ten West winner in the Big Ten Championship. For those that still are sitting on Wisconsin’s long-shot chance at a College Football Playoff, an Ohio State win here would give the Badgers a shot at putting a more impressive win on the resume (if they were to make it to Indy).
But that playoff thing is not going to happen. I know Michigan beat Wisconsin earlier in the season, but the Wolverines are simply a better matchup for this Badger team.
Ohio State boasts the nation’s best pass offense and Heisman-level quarterback play. We’ve seen this season what great passing teams (Nebraska, Penn State) are able to do at times against this Wisconsin defense.
Michigan is a more physical team that plays exceptional defense, runs the ball well and now gets solid quarterback play from Cade McNamara. But they just aren’t as explosive as the Buckeyes.
Badger fans should want the Wolverines to win ‘The Game’ tomorrow. They’d give the team a much easier shot at a Big Ten title.
Saturday at 4 p.m. CST: Wisconsin at Minnesota
Nov 20, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Kendric Pryor (3) celebrates with teammates after catching a pass to score a touchdown during the third quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Nothing more needs to be said about this one.
Nov 6, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) drops back to pass against the LSU Tigers during the second half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
A disclaimer: all of these games only really matter for Wisconsin if you believe in their long-shot playoff chances. Frankly, I don’t even think I should go through them. But here we are:
Cincinnati over East Carolina
Georgia Tech over Georgia
Texas Tech over Baylor
Boston College over Wake Forest
Auburn over Alabama
Oregon State over Oregon
Penn State over Michigan State
Oklahoma over Oklahoma State
Stanford over Notre Dame
USC over BYU