For the Badgers, taking down the undefeated The Ohio State University not once but twice was their last shot at a chance in the College Football Playoff. That opportunity came and went faster than Paul Chryst could blink.
No. 16 Wisconsin’s devastating 7–38 loss against No. 3 The Ohio State University marks history repeating itself once again but still leaves a sting with prideful Badger fans. Yet there is little shame in going out against one of the best teams the Big Ten conference has seen in the past decade.
Ohio State has done nothing but turn heads the entire 2019 season. Starting in the top 10 of the AP Poll’s Top 25 in August — what feels like ages ago — the Buckeyes have done nothing but dominate to earn its rank this week. They topped No. 4 Clemson at third in the country with an 8-0 record and fell just below SEC teams with Alabama at No. 2 and Louisiana State — the top ranked team in the nation.
The rest of the Big Ten conference hasn’t even come close. Indiana, Nebraska, Northwestern, Michigan State and even Wisconsin failed to get more than 10 points on the board when matched up to Ohio State. Their next few matchups will have to prove that they’re an exception.
Arguably their most competitive matchups remain as OSU is still set to face the undefeated No. 5 Penn State at home before their annual rivalry game against No. 14 Michigan at the Big House.
The Nittany Lions may be the only team in the Big Ten Conference that has a chance to take down the Buckeyes. So far this season, they have already left Purdue, Michigan, Maryland, Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State in the dust.
Taking down the Buckeyes is certainly not an easy task, as the Badgers proved this weekend when they failed to stall one of the best defensive players in college football, Chase Young.
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Ohio’s star junior defensive lineman is unstoppable on the field. At this point, it’s fairly safe to say that even the Badger offensive line wasn’t prepared to handle him as he racked up four total sacks and two forced fumbles. Even when Young wasn’t on the ball, his presence created opportunities for other linemen to get it on the action as the Badgers were often forced to double team him.
As if his impressive performance this weekend wasn’t enough to make him stand out, Young leads the country in sacks with 13.5. He is also tied for third in the nation with 15.5 tackles for loss and second in the nation for forced fumbles with five in eight games this season.
Ohio controls their own destiny in the Big Ten East if they can take down both Penn State and Michigan. The Big Ten West is still filled with potential contenders.
The undefeated No. 13 Minnesota Gophers have flown under the radar for almost the entire season. So much that they’re practically begging for attention from ESPN’s College Gameday.
Yet the Gophers do raise some concerns for the Badgers as they took down unranked Illinois 40–17 before the Badgers choked against the fighting Illini and lost 23–24. The Gophers will have gone untested against ranked teams until they take on No. 5 Penn State at home next weekend — an inevitably critical test.
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The Badgers going to the Big Ten Championship is not out of the question. In the coming weeks, they will take on strong Big Ten West contenders starting next week with Iowa and will wrap their season up by facing the Gophers.
On the other hand, Wisconsin football has a long history of ripping fans’ hearts out when they least expect it, so nothing can be set in stone. If they can defeat Iowa next week, they will still have to defeat Nebraska, Purdue and Minnesota to secure their spot in the Big Ten Championship. If the Badgers suffer another loss, their shot at the Big Ten Championship could slip away even quicker than their shot at the College Football Playoff.
A lot is at stake as college football enters into this crunch-time period. Ohio State’s road to the College Football Playoff could be cut short by Penn State, while Wisconsin will fight to clinch the Big Ten West in the age-old battle against rival Minnesota. The best that college football has to offer is truly yet to come.