A win over the Buckeyes essentially guarantees Wisconsin a spot in the final four, but a loss just creates more confusion at the top of the rankings. While a playoff spot is nearly mathematically impossible, a New Year's Day game is on the line. The Badgers (12-1) fell to 0-5 in the Big Ten championship game and lost for the first time since last year's conference title game.
Ohio State's victory against previously unbeaten Wisconsin was their third of note as it pertains to the CFP rankings.
Barrett completed just 12 of his 26 pass attempts for 211 yards, rushing for 60 yards and another score. on 19 attempts six days after undergoing surgery to fix a knee injury suffered in Ohio State's victory over MI. If reason were to follow, the Buckeyes win in the conference title game would have created the separation necessary to get them in. Then Ohio State's Sean Nuernberger pushed the lead back to 11 points with a 27-yard field goal.
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After the Barrett interception, Wisconsin cut the deficit to 24-20 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Chris James with 12:39 left in the fourth quarter. Ohio State had little trouble busting through on its way to building a big enough lead to survive Saturday night. Bryant completed 23-of-29 passes for 252 yards, one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown.
Wisconsin, which got on the scoreboard on Andrew Van Ginkel's nine-yard interception for a touchdown in the first quarter, went into intermission down 21-10 after Rafael Gaglianone's 28-yard field goal with 3:42 remaining in the second quarter.
In the madness that has been college football over the past few weeks, the Badgers are now one of two undefeated teams heading into the final game before College Football Playoff's Selection Sunday.
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Turnovers could also be big and not just because they can produce points. Both two-loss teams had three wins against top 25 opponents and won their conference championship, but neither made the College Football Playoff. However, in the end, Ohio State's 31-point loss to Iowa was too much to overcome.
Terry McLaurin caught an 84-yard touchdown pass from Barrett to open the scoring. His Ohio State debut included 181 yards rushing, surpassing Maurice Clarrett's debut record (175 yards) set back in 2002. Less than a week removed from a knee scope, one of America's more grizzled 22-year-olds carried the ball a team-high 19 times and threw for 211 yards and two scores. The abandonment of the run game combined with some easy missed throws by Barrett, including a tipped-ball interception, allowed the Badgers to claw their way back into the game. Naturally, such a stellar record is going to give the Badgers the lead in the Big Ten - West standings.
Tiger still in the woods
Hoffman countered two bogeys and a double-bogey with six birdies in a two-under 70 and a 14-under total of 202. We can probably rule out Tiger Woods winning this weekend's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.