Indulge us, if you could be so kind, because yes, we are fully aware of the fact that the final BcS standings won’t come out until a week from tomorrow.
But, barring some type of behind-the-scenes shenanigans when it comes to the last release of the rankings, Wisconsin — fresh off their 70-23 waxing of Northwestern — will represent the Big Ten in the 2011 Rose Bowl as that conference’s champion.
It’s not an outright title, of course; Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State will finish at 7-1 in the conference, 11-1 overall and grab a share of the 2010 Big Ten title. With the three-way tiebreaker system currently in place, and all of the other tie-breaking possibilities exhausted, the final BcS rankings will be the determining factor for the conference’s automatic bid.
The Badgers currently sit at No. 7 and the Buckeyes at No. 8 in the latest BcS rankings, while the Spartans are a distant No. 10 and with no chance of making up ground in the next eight days despite the fact that they beat UW on the field by ten points earlier this season. Given Wisconsin’s defeat of Ohio State earlier this year — funny how head-to-head matters for one team and not another when the records are exactly the same — and UW’s current BcS lead, it would take an inexplicable shift in the voting patterns of those that make up the USA Today and Harris polls for the Buckeyes to leapfrog the Badgers in the final BcS rankings.
So again, barring a bizarre turn of events in the next week or so, Wisconsin will comprise one half of the tandem playing in the Granddaddy of Them All in a little over a month. The other half? If Auburn and Oregon win out, the Rose Bowl would be contractually obligated to replace the Ducks with the highest-ranked, qualifying non-automatic qualifier.
In other words, get ready for a Wisconsin-TCU Rose Bowl. The Badgers’ outstanding rushing attack versus the Horned Frogs’ stifling defense? Now that is a football game, regardless of how much the holier-than-thou BcS sycophants will inevitably look down upon the match-up.