Wisconsin football will get to play their border rivals, after all, this season.
Just a few weeks ago, the Wisconsin football game with their bitter rivals, the Minnesota Gophers, was canceled due to elevated numbers of positive covid tests within the Minnesota program. It was a huge bummer when the game was canceled because Minnesota has become more relevant in the past few seasons since P.J. Fleck has taken over the program. This rivalry has become more competitive with Minnesota finally beating the Badgers in 2018 at Camp Randall. The Badgers got revenge last year, defeating the Gophers and winning the Big Ten West.
On top of that, with the cancelation of the Minnesota-Wisconsin football game, the Badgers became ineligible for the Big Ten Championship because they couldn’t have met the minimum number of games to play for the Big Ten title. Granted, that has all changed now anyway, but with their losses to Indiana and Iowa the past two games, they wouldn’t have made it anyway.
Originally the Big Ten announced a crossover ‘postseason’ for the members of the conference. Teams would matchup up with their equal counterpart for a game at the end of the regular season. If that were to remain the case, the Badgers would have faced Penn St rather than Minnesota.
Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck brought the idea up about a possible rescheduling of the Minnesota-Wisconsin football game during this postseason game. As much as I hate to say it, it was a good idea and we might have him to thank for the second chance at Axe Week.
Normally, this game would be absolutely a must-win for the Wisconsin football team. With a loss, they would fall to 2-3 and finish the season with a losing record. Normally, per bowl-eligibility requirements, teams need to have at least a 0.500 record to receive a bowl game bid. This year, however, those requirements have been waived.
Wisconsin will likely be in a bowl game regardless, but entering into a bowl game with a winning record and a victory over Minnesota will help salvage this lost and very messy season.