Wisconsin Football: Winning B1G Championship is ‘best case scenario’

UW head coach Paul Chryst congratulates his offense as it leaves the field after scoring a touchdown against Kent State.Uwgrid06 17 Wood
UW head coach Paul Chryst congratulates his offense as it leaves the field after scoring a touchdown against Kent State.Uwgrid06 17 Wood /

The Wisconsin football team has been contenders for the Big Ten Championship more often than not in the past two decades. That isn’t expected to change this year either.

After a tough 2020 season that included a pandemic, injuries, and canceled games, the Wisconsin football team finished third in the Big Ten West with a 3-3 record in their Big Ten-only regular season. They finished their season at 4-3 after a victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

Last years’ Wisconsin football team faced a lot of adversity last year. Their starting quarterback, Jack Coan, broke his foot, forcing redshirt freshman Graham Mertz into action. They also lost other starters due to injuries and positive covid tests, including their top two receivers in Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor.

This season, expectations are back where they should be, as favorites in the Big Ten West.

Nick Kosko, from 247Sports, recently posted an article stating the best-case scenario for every Big Ten team in 2021.

For Wisconsin, Kosko says the Badgers’ best-case scenario is winning the Big Ten Championship. From Kosko:

"Winning a Big Ten championship is the best case scenario for the Badgers. They’re the favorites in the division and a likely showdown with Ohio State, on paper, sets up for an intriguing contest. But, Wisconsin brings back quarterback Graham Mertz and if he’s anything close to las year’s opener against Illinis, before COVID-19 vastly affected the season, Wisconsin might be thinking more than a conference championship."

The Badgers have represented the Big Ten West in six of the 10 Big Ten Championships since its beginning in 2011. After winning the first two championships, the Badgers lost their last four appearances.

What’s frustrating for Wisconsin fans is that the Badgers get ahead in some of these games but can’t put teams away. They were ahead of the Penn St. Nittany Lions in 2016, up 28-14 at the half before falling apart and losing 38-31.

In 2019 they were up 21-7 on #1 Ohio St. before being outscored in the second half, 27-0, losing the game 34-21.

The Badgers also played a tight game with Ohio St. in 2017, when they entered the game undefeated at 12-0. They ended up losing to the Buckeyes 27-21.

We are always saying this, but it still rings true: hopefully, this will be the year the Badgers can break through and come away from Indianapolis with a Big Ten Championship; preferably against Ohio St. It would feel really good to see the Badgers defeat the Buckeyes and get that monkey off their backs.

Winning the Big Ten Championship Game would also set the Badgers up for the College Football Playoff. This fall the Badgers have a relatively competitive schedule, having Penn St., Notre Dame, and Michigan on their schedule outside of their Big Ten West slate. If they can get to the Big Ten Championship Game undefeated or even with one loss, they could be playing for the conference championship as well as a spot in the CFP.