Brent Yarina, BTN.com Senior Editor, October 17, 2011
As you're probably aware, the initial BCS Standings were released Sunday night, and Big Ten favorite Wisconsin came in at a surprising No. 6. Considering the Badgers were ranked No. 4 in the Coaches' Poll, many Badger fans were expecting a No. 4 or No. 5 ranking. The computers, however, had other ideas. Three of the six computers ranked the Badgers outside the top 10, including one at No. 17, which allowed perfect Oklahoma State and Boise State to land ahead of Wisconsin. Is that right? Does it matter? Brent Yarina breaks it down in this post.
As for whether it's right or wrong, it's reality. Computers are involved in this confusing system, and they'll continue to play a part in picking who plays in the BCS title game until a new system is created. So yeah, it's right that the Badgers' weak schedule affects them in the standings, especially when there are five other undefeated teams ahead of them who have played tougher slates – Boise State is debatable.
Now, does it matter? Of course. While this was only the first installment of the BCS Standings, teams always want to be ranked as high as possible. It makes getting into one of the top two spots a lot easier, and that's what it's all about. Things will work themselves out over the course of the season (No. 1 LSU has to play No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oklahoma has to play No. 4 Oklahoma State and Boise State's non-BCS schedule will hurt it), but the fact Wisconsin landed at No. 6 and it doesn't have a great remaining schedule to fall back on makes it an uphill battle.
Here's the case for Wisconsin:
- Outscored six opponents, 301-58, an average of 50.2-9.7 per game
- Won every game this season by at least 31 points
- Rank No. 1 in FBS in touchdowns (40) and points per game (50.2)
- Three field goals – good enough for 108th in FBS – means Badgers don't settle for three points
- Only one FBS team has allowed fewer touchdowns (7)
- Rank third in FBS in points per game against (9.7) and passing yards allowed (869), the latter possibly the most impressive stat, considering every opponent plays from behind and must throw
- Scored at least 35 points in every game and haven't allowed more than 17
- Destroyed lone ranked opponent, then-No. 8 Nebraska, 48-17
- Played no true road game yet – only a neutral game at Soldier Field
- Opponents have a combined 16-23 record (41% winning percentage)
- Three BCS opponents (Oregon State, Nebraska, Indiana) have just a 7-12 clip (37%)
- One win over a team that has been ranked this year (Nebraska)
Then there's these stats, courtesy of Twitter:
No one's arguing Wisconsin's schedule is even average, but just imagine what it could be doing to its poor opponents if it utilized Wilson, Ball and others for four quarters. It's scary. The Badgers have made their opponents look like they don't even belong on the same field – and one could argue they don't belong on the same field – every Saturday. Would LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Boise State be as dominant against the same schedule? Who knows. We'll never know. One thing's for sure, though: It would be pretty hard to do better than Wisconsin has against its foes. Just watch the games. The Badgers never even struggle – they look like some video game nerd is controlling them and going up against Chattanooga on the easiest of levels.
That, inevitably, brings us back to Wisconsin's very soft schedule. Yes, the Badgers hurt themselves with the nonconference schedule they picked, but you can't blame them for catching Oregon State, of the Pac-12, in one of its worst seasons. Or for its conference schedule, which has already had them play Indiana (1-6) and will pit them against Purdue (3-3) and rival Minnesota (1-5) in Novemeber.
Saturday's game at No. 16 Michigan State can only help Wisconsin in the BCS – assuming, of course, it goes into East Lansing and beats the talented Spartans, something it couldn't do last season. Blow out Michigan State, and the rest of Wisconsin's schedule still might not be strong enough to get it into the top 2 – aka the BCS title game – even if it finishes the season as one of two or three undefeated teams.