Found October 17, 2013 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
MADISON, Wis. -- Deep in the recesses of Ohio Stadium, Gary Andersen somberly addressed the possibility that Wisconsin's Big Ten championship hopes had been crushed for good. It was only late September, yet he acknowledged Ohio State's 31-24 victory against Wisconsin meant the Badgers no longer controlled their path to a fourth straight conference title. Despite his misery, the Badgers' first-year coach also maintained his optimism that the 2013 season wasn't entirely lost. "If we take care of business one game at a time, I like our chances," he said then. "In some way out there, there will be another big game for us to play to put ourselves in a position to do some special things with this season. What those are, I dont know, but these kids will come back. They'll be ready to roll." More than two weeks later, it appears the Badgers once again are firmly planted on a path toward a special season. It still isn't likely to result in a Big Ten championship or a Rose Bowl berth, but it very well could end with yet another BCS bowl appearance. Wisconsin's 35-6 drubbing of No. 19 Northwestern on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium puts the Badgers (4-2) in position to finish undefeated the rest of the season because their schedule could not be any more favorable. Wisconsin avoids playing Legends Division threats Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State. And the team's remaining Big Ten road games come against Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota -- three teams the Badgers should handle. In fact, UW is likely to be favored in all six remaining regular season games, which could help the Badgers to a 10-2 record. What that record means in the bowl race is up for debate -- even national pundits don't have a clue where Wisconsin is headed. Analysts from Sports Illustrated, Big Ten Network, CBSSports.com, College Football News and ESPN place Wisconsin in the Fiesta Bowl, Outback Bowl, Orange Bowl, Capital One Bowl and Sugar Bowl. Three of those games, however, are indeed BCS bowl games. Here is what we know for certain: If Wisconsin wins at least nine regular-season games and is among the top 14 teams in the final BCS standings, the Badgers will be eligible for an at-large bid to a BCS bowl game -- a scenario that seems even more likely given the victory against Northwestern. Wisconsin currently ranks No. 28 in the unofficial BCS standings, which will be released officially for the first time Oct. 20. And the Badgers will have seven weeks to work their way back up the poll to make their sixth BCS game since the system was implemented in 1998. "It's definitely attainable," Badgers running back James White said. "We have to keep our foot on the gas throughout the rest of the season, especially when November comes. Thats a very important part of the season. Thats definitely a goal of ours is to try to win out for the rest of the season." One BCS game you can likely rule out is the Rose Bowl because Ohio State is almost assuredly headed to Pasadena despite the possibility of an undefeated season. The Buckeyes already hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with Wisconsin and would need to lose twice to provide Wisconsin with an opportunity to reach the Big Ten championship and have a crack at the Rose Bowl. Ohio State ranks fifth in the BCS standings behind Alabama, Oregon, Clemson and Florida State. And OSU will be hard-pressed to sneak into the top two ahead of an undefeated SEC, Pac-12 and ACC winner despite a perfect season, which would put the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl and snap Wisconsin's three-game appearance streak. That leaves the Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl as BCS possibilities for Wisconsin. The Big Ten's No. 2 team has a tie in to the Capital One Bowl -- a non-BCS game -- to play the SEC's No. 2. However, a team can also be plucked to a BCS bowl game provided it is in the top-14 of the final BCS standings. It's worth noting representatives from the Fiesta Bowl and Florida Citrus Sports, which operates the Capital One Bowl, were on hand for Wisconsin's victory against Northwestern. Wisconsin has never played in the Fiesta Bowl and could be a good fit for the game, giving Badgers fans a chance to see a different venue for a change. At this stage, Wisconsin can make a case for being the second-best team in the Big Ten now and in the future this season. Nebraska and Michigan State both are 2-0 in the Legends Division, while Wisconsin is 2-1 in the Leaders Division. But Nebraska still must play at Michigan and at Penn State and play home games against Northwestern and Michigan State. The Spartans, meanwhile, have road games against Nebraska and Northwestern and play Michigan at home. Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland called it "well within reason" that the Badgers were the second-best conference team. But he didn't stop there. "I'm not so sure we're not the best team in the conference," Borland said. "We're really improving. Maybe you can make an argument for that." Wisconsin's two losses have come by a combined nine points, including a controversial 32-30 loss at Arizona State in which referees bungled the Badgers' opportunity to run one more play and kick the potential game-winning field goal. Borland is hopeful BCS pollsters will notice the way Wisconsin lost. "I dont know how computers take into account the Arizona State loss," Borland said. "Hopefully voters could override them or there could be a unique scenario for that. I think every game is winnable. You can't try to say let's go undefeated now. You've got to win each one. But every game is winnable, so wherever that takes us." While players are focused on the present, the rest of us can examine bowl possibilities. And despite two difficult losses, the possibilities for Wisconsin remain plentiful. Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

LB Chris Borland named Badgers long range kicker

MADISON, Wis. -- And so Wisconsin's kicking situation has come to this: A linebacker, who has never attempted a field goal in his entire college career, is now the Badgers' long-range kicker should the scenario arise in an actual game. Yes, there is very little Wisconsin senior Chris Borland can't do, it seems. But how well does he kick field goals? We may soon find...

Wisconsin’s Linebacker Is Going To Take Field Goals From 45-Yards+ This Saturday

Well, this is something you don’t see every day. Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen has confirmed that starting linebacker Chris Borland will kick all field goals longer than 45 yards in Saturday’s game against Illinois. Really. #Badgers Gary Andersen says LB Chris Borland will handle FGs of 45+ against Illinois. Jack Russell will handle inside of that. — Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin...

Borland sits out Wisconsin practice

Linebacker Chris Borland has missed a second day of practice for No. 22 Wisconsin as he recovers from a strained right hamstring. Coach Gary Andersen said earlier this week that he expected his star senior to be ready for Saturday's game at Iowa. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda said Wednesday that Borland was held out as a precaution, and that the team wants to make sure...

Kyle French announces departure from Badgers program after this season

Last week the Badger faithful saw Kyle French miss a 38-yard field goal attempt against Northwestern. It led to Jack Russell taking the rest of the kicks for the game and a new plan to have Russell be the kicker of choice this week at Illinois.  However, it appears that French's time with the program is coming to an end at the end of this season, at least according to his...

Badgers struggling kicker French won't return to team

MADISON, Wis. -- Kyle French lost more than his starting kicking job when he missed a 38-yard field goal wide left against Northwestern last week. Apparently, he also will lose his scholarship. French, a redshirt junior from Menomonee Falls, Wis., posted on his Facebook page Thursday night that he would not be back with the team for his senior season. "I want to personally...

Photo: Someone In Wisconsin Put Up A Craigslist Ad For A Kicker

When a starting linebacker is also named the field goal specialist for kicks longer than 45 yards, you just know there are going to be some jokes in response. Last night, Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen announced that the Badgers will be using linebacker Chris Borland on long field goal tries – a move that, needless to say, is interesting. The team is moving away from using Kyle...

Badgers predictions: Game 7 at Illinois

No. 25 Wisconsin is on the road and going against an Illinois team that has a good quarterback. Yet, the Badgers are favored by as many as 14 12 points. Finding someone to pick the Illini to win was nearly impossible (even from Illinois fans - look at the comments from the Champaign article). Of course, Wisconsin is 0-2 in night games this season and have struggled defensively against...

Badgers have confidence in freshmen cornerbacks

MADISON, Wis. -- The two-deep depth chart for Wisconsin's football team features an unusual scenario at cornerback this season, one rarely seen across the major college football landscape: two freshmen listed side-by-side. Given the scrutiny that comes with playing corner -- and the difficulties of mastering such a complex spot -- few newcomers typically find themselves in position...

Inside Wisconsin Kicker Andrew Endicott’s Special Bond With A Young Badgers Fan

Via Kim Ehlert Back in August, we wrote an article about Wisconsin’s freshman kicker Andrew Endicott and the cute thank you note he received from 6-year-old Badgers fan Ryan Ehlert after he spent the day shagging balls and meeting some of the players at Camp Randall. Earlier this week, Ryan’s mother, Kim, wrote to us to provide a follow-up to the story, along with some background...

Illinois expects to see best of Badgers' backs

Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown says No. 25 Wisconsin's offense has it all. Big offensive line, a pair of big-game backs and a passing game that can make a defense loosened up by the run game pay. ''As a linebacker, you dream of playing games like this in the Big Ten,'' said Brown, who grew up in SEC country in Memphis. ''They might be one of the...

Badgers football get Big Ten slates for 2018 and 2019

The future schedules for Badgers football is really taking shape quickly and today the Big Ten helped create some more certainty, announcing the 2018 and 2019 conference schedules for all teams.  Wisconsin got a hell of a slate in the first lineup of games in the nine game conference slates of 2016 and 2017, and that won't change much the next two years either.  In...

Wisconsin Football: Badgers need balance between home and road

Melvin Gordon runs against Northwestern in last weekend’s game. (AP Photo) It has been nearly three years since the Wisconsin football team won a road game against a ranked opponent. On Oct. 23, 2010, Wisconsin defeated Iowa, 31-30, in Iowa City. However, it’s worth noting that the Badgers were ranked No. 10 at the time, and the Hawkeyes were ranked No. 13. If you really want...

Live blog: Wisconsin at Illinois (Saturday, 7 p.m.)

Join us for some nighttime football in our live blog of the Wisconsin-Illinois game. Kickoff on Saturday is set for 7 p.m. CT, but we'll start up around 6:30 p.m. So come join us -- whether you are sitting at home on your couch or out and about using a mobile device -- for updates and analysis as well as submitting your own comments and questions. (Note: mobile users might want...

Badgers look to keep momentum against Illini

The learning curve is getting easier at Wisconsin. The 25th-ranked Badgers feel they're hitting their stride after a dominant win, and they'll look to stay focused for a potentially tricky trip to Champaign on Saturday night to face Illinois. Coach Gary Andersen switched to a 3-4 scheme and installed new packages in his first year in Madison. It's been a learning process...

Badgers players getting midseason All-American love

It’s a good day to be Melvin Gordon and Chris Borland, as both Badger football players are feeling the midseason love from the likes of ESPN and CBS Sports. The duo were named to both organizations’ midseason All-American lists on Tuesday, and rightfully so. Gordon is third in rushing nationally, with 870 yards (averaging a ridiculous 9.7 yards per carry), while Borland has...
Badgers News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.