When you start a discussion Big Ten football, Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State are the three teams you hear about for the upcoming season. With the recruiting job James Franklin has been doing, Penn State has been getting a lot of attention as well. Ohio State was the favorite to win the conference before Braxton Miller’s injury with Michigan State right behind them. With all that being said, there is one team that has a better shot to make the College Football Playoffs than all of the favorites and that team is the Wisconsin Badgers.
Why do I feel that the have the best chance? Take a look at the Badgers’ schedule for this season.
|08/30/14||vs. LSU||Houston, Texas||8:00 p.m. CT|
|09/06/14||vs. Western Illinois||Camp Randall Stadium||11:00 a.m. CT|
|09/20/14||vs. Bowling Green||Camp Randall Stadium||TBA|
|09/27/14||vs. South Florida||Camp Randall Stadium||TBA|
|10/04/14||at Northwestern *||Evanston, Ill.||TBA|
|10/11/14||vs. Illinois *||Camp Randall Stadium||TBA|
|10/25/14||vs. Maryland *||Camp Randall Stadium||11:00 a.m. CT|
|11/01/14||at Rutgers *||Piscataway, N.J.||11:00 a.m. CT|
|11/08/14||at Purdue *||West Lafayette, Ind.||TBA|
|11/15/14||vs. Nebraska *||Camp Randall Stadium||TBA|
|11/22/14||at Iowa *||Iowa City, Iowa||TBA|
|11/29/14||vs. Minnesota *||Camp Randall Stadium||TBA|
|12/06/14||Big Ten Championship||Indianapolis, Ind.||TBA|
The first thing I noticed about their schedule is that Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State are not on it. So the Badgers wouldn’t face one of those three teams until the Big Ten Championship.
The second thing I noticed is besides LSU and maybe Iowa, this should be a cake walk for the Badgers. The opening day game against LSU is by far the most important game of the season in terms of national perception. The timing couldn’t be better because LSU is replacing their QB and two WRs that both had over a 1,000 yards receiving. Not to mention, the lack of depth that the Tigers will be dealing with on the defensive line as well. This LSU team will get better as the season progresses, so winning this game will be big.
During conference play, the only game that could cause a problem will be on November 22 on the road at Iowa. That game could easily decide the West division. In all honesty, if I were a Badger fan, anything less than 11-1 heading into the Big Ten Championship game is a disappointment with this early Christmas gift of a schedule. It will be interesting to see if the Badgers can rise to the challenge or will they laid an egg.