The Electric Commentary

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Badgers and the B(C)S

The Badgers are still undefeated, still 5th in the BCS, and still behind California, which lost to USC earlier this year. Maybe the system will right itself by years end, but as of now this is garbage.

Let's start with the fact that, other than USC, the Pac-10 is a bad conference. Perhaps the Big-10 is having a down year, but the Pac-10 has a few teams that could not beat any Big-10 team (for instance, Washington, Arizona, Washington State, Stanford). Even the worst team in the Big-10, currently Penn State, has 2 wins on the year, and a very solid defense. Even perennial Big-10 doormats, the Indiana Hoosiers, have a few quality wins this season. In fact, one of those wins came against the Oregon Ducks. Yes, the same Oregon Ducks who came within a missed extra point and a dropped pass of knocking off Cal this week.

What powerhouse teams has Cal beaten to justify this lofty ranking? For surely this cannot be based solely on their Pac-10 record. Non conference wins against Air Force and New Mexico State. Their two "most impressive" wins, against Arizona St., and Oregon both came at home. Wow.

The Badgers played a weak non-conference schedule, that much is true, but their Big-10 schedule has been much more rigorous than people give them credit for. First and foremost, the Badgers beat Ohio State and Purdue on the road in consecutive weeks. Both Purdue and Ohio State were highly ranked at the time, the former having suffered a loss to the underrated Northwestern Wildcats the week before, and the latter having essentially given up after the loss to Wisconsin. The Badgers defeated the Wildcats, a team that narrowly lost to Pac-10 "powerhouse" Arizona State. (They also lost a close game to TCU in their first contest of the year, 48-45).

Wisconsin does not play Michigan this year, which surely hurts them, but they also ducked Indiana, a sure win if ever there was one (unless you're tied for 3rd in the Pac-10). Hopefully upcoming games at Iowa (7-2 overall, 5-1 in the Big 10), and at Michigan St. (3-3, 4-5) will boost the Badger's credentials, (Cal finishes with Pac-10 whipping boys Washington and Stanford, followed by a make-up game against Southern Miss (4-1, 5-2)).

If this does work out the Badgers are still a long shot to get into the National Championship picture, as USC and Oklahoma, both of whom play terrible defense, are both glamour programs. Therefore, all Wisconsin fans should support the also undefeated Auburn Tigers in the hope that we get a real National Championship game between Wisconsin and Auburn in the Rose Bowl or some other BCS bowl. Hopefully if there are 4 major undefeated teams (and 6 counting Utah and Boise State) college football will finally institute a playoff system.

Until then, I look forward to the Auburn-Wisconsin game, and a humiliating California loss to Southern Miss at the end of the year.

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