The Wisconsin Badgers play their final non-conference game of the season this Saturday, hosting the Brigham Young University Cougars. To stay in the BCS standings, they have to win. In order to have any hope to move up in the standings, they need to win big.
The Cougars come into Madison 6-2, but unranked in any of the polls. The Cougars rank 12th in FBS in total offense, thanks in large part to their 14th-ranked running game led by sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill. BYU doesn’t stack up so well defensively, however.
The Cougars rank 51st in the nation in total defense, and have a turnover margin of just plus one. BYU is allowing an average of 145 rushing yards per game so far this season. Wisconsin should have no trouble scoring on the Cougar defense; the only issue will be whether or not the Badger defense will be able to stifle BYU’s own ground attack.
If the numbers hold true, Wisconsin should be able to accomplish that task. The Badgers are fifth in the country against the run. If you combine the facts that BYU comes in unranked, it’s a home game for Wisconsin and the statistical advantages on paper. Losing this game would be a death blow to the Badgers’ hopes for a BCS at-large bid.
With some games being played between teams in front of Wisconsin in the BCS standings, the Badgers need to look at this game as an opportunity to move up in the standings. A convincing win would do some convincing of those who vote in the human polls that this Wisconsin team legitimately belongs among the best in the nation. If things go right, the Badgers could find themselves in the top 20 of the BCS standings come Sunday night.
Scheduling a late season, non-conference game against a quality opponent like BYU is always a risky venture. A loss here would take Wisconsin out of the BCS conversation for the rest of the season. A win, however, could propel the Badgers into the group of teams considered for BCS bowl play.