The Wisconsin football team is trying to claw their way back to the top of the Big Ten West. After a disastrous 1-3 start, the Badgers have rattled off four wins in a row, including two straight over ranked opponents.
They have put themselves in a great position and are in control of their own destiny. A win over #9 Iowa last week put them in a great position, but there is still plenty of work to do. The Badgers can’t afford to lose another game, and if they do, they will need help. So while the Badgers show no signs of slowing down, we can still cheer for other teams to give the Wisconsin football team even more help along the way.
Here’s who Wisconsin football fans should be cheering for this week in Big Ten football.
#5 Ohio State at Nebraska – 11:00 AM – FOX
Sure, we’d all love to see Ohio State lose, but do we really want Nebraska to be the team to beat the Buckeyes? On one side, it would be nice to have Scott Frost win a game like this to cool off his seat so the Huskers keep him around longer. On the other hand, do we really want to give Nebraska any confidence when they still have Wisconsin on the schedule?
Ohio State is headed for a collision course with #3 Michigan State. The winner of that game (barring any other losses on either side) will represent the Big Ten East in the Big Ten Championship. So this game isn’t going to mean a ton for Wisconsin except that it could affect who the Badgers would play in Indianapolis, should they make it.
I love cheering against Ohio State, but in this case, let’s just hope things go chalk here and the Buckeyes take any confidence the Huskers do have before they take on the Badgers.
Who to cheer for: Ohio State
Illinois at #20 Minnesota – 11:00 AM – ESPN2
Right now, Minnesota is the lone team ahead of the Badgers in the Big Ten West standings. As it stands the Gophers and Badgers are headed towards a Big Ten West Championship Game in the last week of the regular season.
It would make life a whole lot easier for the Wisconsin football team if pesky Illinois could pull off another big win. We’ve seen that they are capable of beating some good teams, like going into nine overtimes with Penn State and pulling out a win.
If the Illini can beat Minnesota, that would put Wisconsin and Minnesota in a tie in overall record and conference record heading into Week 11. The Gophers also have a big game with Iowa coming up next week when they have to travel to Iowa City. If the Gophers drop two in a row, Wisconsin will really be in the driver’s seat, assuming they win their next two games.
Who to cheer for: Illinois
#3 Michigan State at Purdue – 2:30 PM – ABC
The Wisconsin football team has an advantage over Purdue because of head-to-head wins, but they still have the same 3-2 conference record.
A little space between the two would be nice, especially since Minnesota also has a win over Purdue. The Boilermakers do, however, have Ohio State on their schedule next week, so a loss this week and to Ohio State next week would certainly give the Badgers some breathing room.
So while I’m not excited that Michigan State is having so much success this year, I’d still like to see Wisconsin win the Big Ten West, and a Purdue loss would still help that.
Who to cheer for: Michigan State
Penn State at Maryland – 2:30 PM – FS1
This game doesn’t really have a lot to do with Wisconsin winning the Big Ten West. But if we are looking at the Badgers’ resume, a loss to Penn State would look a lot worse if they lost to a team at home who lost to Maryland. We want that resume to look solid to the committee. A win for Penn State doesn’t affect Wisconsin much more than that, but I’ll take whatever I can get to make the Badgers look better.
For the College Football Playoff committee, optics is a big thing. A Penn State win helps the Badgers. A loss hurts them.
Who to cheer for: Penn State
#22 Iowa at Northwestern – 6:00 PM
Like the Badgers, the Hawkeyes are 3-2 in the conference. And like the Purdue situation, the Badgers already own the tiebreaker over the Hawkeyes. So although they are tied for second in the West, the Badgers are still ahead of them. But a stumble by Wisconsin and an Iowa win would put the Hawkeyes back ahead of Wisconsin.
I want as much space as possible between the Badgers and Hawkeyes. I know the Badgers still have a game with Northwestern next week and a Wildcat win would give them some momentum, but I think I would still take that over Iowa getting back ahead of Wisconsin. If they could both lose I’d choose that, but unfortunately, that’s not possible. Let’s take the lesser of two evils for now.
Who to cheer for: Northwestern
Indiana at #7 Michigan – 6:30 PM – FOX
Like the Penn State situation, this game doesn’t really affect the Badgers, but the loss to Michigan hurt Wisconsin early, but the Wolverines can help the Badgers out by continuing to win. The Wisconsin losses to highly-ranked teams like Michigan don’t look as bad as losses to unranked teams.
Indiana hasn’t done much this year after their nice run in 2020. I don’t expect much out of them in this game. I don’t like to cheer for Michigan, but again, the optics of a loss to a one-loss team is a lot better than a two-loss team.
Who to cheer for: Michigan