College Football Cavalcade: The Big Ten's Wisconsin Problem, Ohio State's Toughest Opponent

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College Football Cavalcade: The Big Ten's Wisconsin Problem, Ohio State's Toughest Opponent

Cavalcade of Whimsy

College Football Cavalcade: The Big Ten's Wisconsin Problem, Ohio State's Toughest Opponent

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What I think, know and believe about the college football world, the Wisconsin situation, and Ohio State’s toughest opponent, all in the latest College Football Cavalcade.


Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …

It has no shot of winning Pennsylvania.

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Check out all the past Cavalcades

Ohio State’s Toughest Opponent
I Think, I Know, I Believe
5 Footballey Opinions
Sure-Thing Picks of the Century

“You’ve got to stick to your principles.”

I went to the University of Wisconsin.

Having lived around colleges and in that world for most of my life, I’ll put the Madison campus, the atmosphere, and the entire scene up against any other college experience you could possibly name.

I was there during the Don Morton regime and his veer offense.

I was there at the very beginning of the Barry Alvarez era from the moment he came to campus.

I know all the stories first-hand, and I know everything about how this football program and athletic department were built up to be the model to emulate for any school trying to become consistently amazing on the field, in the classroom, and in the bank account.

I’m totally objective when it comes to analyzing Wisconsin among Big Ten programs and in the national landscape, but of course I want my guys to do well.

That’s my school.

So I say this having paid a whole lot of money and earning my stripes with that place, and knowing that this year’s team – if healthy – is probably a stone-cold lock to win the Big Ten West, play for the Big Ten Championship, and have the puck on its stick with a shot at the College Football Playoff.

Unless the Big Ten can figure out some way to get these two teams to play, Wisconsin should totally be tagged with a forfeit for not being able to field a team to play Nebraska.

I’m not going to blame any program that can’t go because of an outbreak of COVID-19 – everyone can do everything right and still have a problem. However, football-wise, there’s a harsh reality here.

Nebraska could’ve played last weekend and Wisconsin couldn’t, so why should the Huskers be punished?

I’ve been a Big Ten sympathizer from the start of the coronavirus issues, as the conference was trying to spin a hundred plates at once, but on this, the conference totally blew it with an eight game in eight week schedule without any fail-safes built in.

My idea all along was a two-strike rule. You budget one week into the schedule for make-up games – like at the very end right before the Big Ten Championship – and if a game needs to be rescheduled, fine. If you need a second game to be changed, then that’s a forfeit for the team that can’t make it.

Now, what happens if and when Wisconsin comes back and – for sake of the theoretical argument, and assuming there’s no way it can host Purdue this weekend – rolls through the rest of its schedule and goes 6-0?

Is that fair to Nebraska, who didn’t get a key home game that could’ve put it in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten West with a win?

Is that fair to, say, 2-0 Northwestern, who has to get through the grind of an eight-week schedule healthy?

Is that fair to all the other Big Ten teams that played last weekend?

How happy would Michigan be right now if it simply got a CANCELLED against Michigan State rather than the loss by playing the game?

What if, say, Maryland couldn’t go? No one would’ve given a second’s worth of thought that Minnesota was going to win that game after the Terps’ performance in a 43-3 clunker against Northwestern to start to season.

On the flip side, it’s totally not fair to the other teams in the West if Wisconsin really is that good and Nebraska missed the division’s powerhouse.

We’re all just trying to get through the day, this week, and life in general right now, and no one in college football has a good way to do anything but keep everything going.

But the Big Ten has to think of something quick when it comes to the Big Ten conference race, or this will be a mess.

So …

Because the Big Ten can’t have nice things …

Here’s my solution, and you’re not going to like it.

Wisconsin at Michigan, Penn State at Nebraska. Both games are on November 14th. You cancel them both, Wisconsin goes to Nebraska on that day, and the West is ultimately decided by who has the most wins in division play.

Ohio State’s Toughest Opponent
I Think, I Know, I Believe
5 Footballey Opinions
Sure-Thing Picks of the Century

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