Wisconsin has won seven football games this season, only two of which have come against teams that have winning records today: Utah State and Minnesota. Few observers would classify either one as a signature victory - unless they're willing to make the case that either the Aggies or the Gophers is a feared program.
Thanks to sanctions against Ohio State and Penn State banning both teams from postseason play, a win against Indiana last weekend means the Badgers will play for a Rose Bowl berth in the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis on Dec. 1. That's regardless of how they perform in their final two regular-season games, which happen to be against Ohio State and Penn State.
This has been a down year for the Big Ten conference. Only two conference teams - Nebraska (14) and Michigan (21) - appear in the Bowl Championship Series rankings. As the Southeastern Conference continues to ascend, with six out of the top 10 teams in the BCS rankings, the Big Ten is giving up ground to the Pac 12 and the Big 12.
That position won't be improved if the Badgers end up representing the conference at the Rose Bowl with five losses, which could happen if they lose their next two games and then win in Indianapolis. Not even the most shameless Badger backer would dare to woof about that accomplishment.
A win over undefeated Ohio State on Saturday (2:30 p.m., ABC) is necessary if Wisconsin hopes to stake a legitimate claim to the division title. Of course, it will be preferable if the version of the Buckeyes that needed overtime to beat Purdue shows up, instead of the one that scored 63 points against Nebraska.