ESPN says Wisconsin Football is trending up towards CFP

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 08: Jonathan Taylor #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers rushes for a touchdown during the first half against the New Mexico Lobos at Camp Randall Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 08: Jonathan Taylor #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers rushes for a touchdown during the first half against the New Mexico Lobos at Camp Randall Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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According to ESPN, Wisconsin football still has a shot at the College Football Playoff.

The Wisconsin football team entered 2018 with hopes of competing for a College Football Playoff spot and a potential national championship. The Badgers were a popular choice by many to finally upend the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten and maybe go beyond that. Lee Corso famously, or infamously, depending on how you choose to look at it, chose Wisconsin as his national champion before the season began.

That hype has since died down as Wisconsin struggled out of the gates with Western Kentucky and New Mexico before losing to BYU two weekends ago. A loss to Iowa last weekend would have doomed the Badgers’ season for good. But Wisconsin came away with the victory.

So where are Wisconsin’s Playoff hopes now? Are they gone with the loss to BYU? Or were they gone before that when Wisconsin only took a 10-7 lead into halftime over New Mexico in week two?

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According to ESPN’s Mitch Sherman, Wisconsin is still alive and well in the College Football Playoff picture. You can make reasonable arguments as to why he could be right or wrong but it’s still early in the season. Sherman includes 46 teams in his list of who is still alive for the Playoff. A list that extensive better include the Badgers. The likes of Minnesota, Utah, Virginia, and Indiana are still on the list. Why? Because they can all theoretically win out and claim their conference championship. Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it likely? Not remotely.

Wisconsin is in the group of teams that could more realistically win their conference and make the Playoff. After beating Iowa, Sherman has the Badgers trending “UP,” but he offers little else about the future of the season.

I think it goes without explanation that Wisconsin’s schedule this year is strong enough to support a loss. At Michigan, at Penn State, plus the Big Ten Championship would be three huge wins. A loss in one of those games would be a death blow to Playoff hopes after the BYU loss.

Wisconsin controls its own destiny to Indianapolis and that’s what matters most here. At the very least, a conference title is within reach. If the Badgers win that game, anything can happen. Teams make the Playoff every year with bad losses. If Wisconsin can rally and pull off some huge wins there’s no reason it can’t get a bid from the committee.

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Wisconsin will remain on this list from Sherman until the Michigan game where it’ll either skyrocket up or fall completely off. That game in three weeks is essentially a “loser leaves town” game. We’ll learn more about Wisconsin after the bye week when it plays Nebraska, a team Michigan just demolished.