Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen (0) and the rest of the offensive unit listens to quarterback Graham Mertz (5) in the huddle during their game Saturday, November 20, 2021 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin beat Nebraska 35-28. Mjs Uwgrid21 24 Jpg Uwgrid21

Outlining the Wisconsin Badgers path to a Big Ten West title

Can the Wisconsin Badgers still win a Big Ten West title?

Following the Wisconsin Badgers gut-wrenching 34-28 double-overtime loss to Michigan State on October 15, UW’s pursuit of a Big Ten West title seemed all but over. UW had fallen to 3-4, raising serious questions about the program’s capability of finishing bowl eligible in 2022.

Fast forward to Week 11, and wouldn’t you know it, the Big Ten West-leading Illinois Fighting Illini left the door open for a crazy finish following a loss to Michigan State this past weekend.

With three weeks remaining, Illinois leads the West division with a 4-2 conference record. UW, however, sits in a four-way tie with Iowa, Purdue, and Minnesota, all of which are 3-3.

As I write this today, there are a myriad of things that Wisconsin needs to happen if they’re going to make an improbable run to Indianapolis and capture their first B1G West title in three years.

Let’s explore what needs to happen for the Wisconsin Badgers during the season’s final three weeks to become Big Ten West champions.


Wisconsin Badgers must win out

Oct 22, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Jim Leonhard reacts to a call during the fourth quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

First things first, coach Leonhard and company need to take care of business on their end and win their final three games of the season. You can damn near throw every scenario and tiebreaker out the window if UW loses another game – simple as that.

Wisconsin finishes its season on the road at Iowa and Nebraska before returning home to play Minnesota for the axe in the regular season finale. This schedule doesn’t offer any cupcakes – so UW needs to finish strong to give themselves a chance.

If you want to get technical, the Badgers could still sneak in with a 2-1 finish to the season, but it would require Illinois losing out – which is highly unlikely.


Burt Bielema and the Fighting Illini

Bret Bielema and the Illinois Fighting Illini (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) are in the Big Ten West driver’s seat and control their own destiny with three games remaining.

Illinois plays at home against Purdue before finishing on the road against Michigan and Northwestern.

A road game against the Michigan Wolverines doesn’t look promising for the Illini; however, one loss in their final three games isn’t going to cut it.

Because the Fighting Illini beat Wisconsin head-to-head this season, the Badgers need Illinois to lose at least twice if they’re going to capture an improbable Big Ten West title.


Summary

Nov 20, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) hands the football off to running back Braelon Allen (0) during the first quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

So, to sum things up, Wisconsin needs to win out, and Illinois needs to go 1-2 or 0-3 over their final three games. Should that happen, UW would hold tiebreakers over Purdue, Iowa, and Minnesota – paving the way to a Big Ten West title and a trip to Indianapolis.

So, to sum things up, Wisconsin needs to win out, and Illinois needs to go 1-2 or 0-3 over their final three games. Should that happen, UW would hold tiebreakers over Purdue, Iowa, and Minnesota – paving the way to a Big Ten West title and a trip to Indianapolis.

Should Wisconsin lose a game, the water will get awfully muddy. If UW goes 2-1, Illinois would need to finish 0-3 – however, the team that beat Wisconsin would have the head-to-head tiebreaker.

So, running the table and getting plenty of help along the way is all Wisconsin Badger fans can hope for at this point. Is winning the Big Ten West likely? No. Is it impossible? Also no.

Wisconsin Football: Week 11 Depth Chart + Injury Report For Game Vs. Iowa


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