Wisconsin Badgers, Penn State Nittany Lions Playoff Possibilities

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College football is a sport with a long established tradition of having controversy and debate woven into the very fabric. On Sunday, the discussion will be all about who’s the top four? Who’s left out #5 and #6. Someday, in the not too distant future it’ll be wh0’s the top eight? And who got left out and nine and ten?

It’s really up to ESPN- they’ll ultimately decide when we got from four to eight as they’re the ones who are paying the bills on college football these days. They ponied up the dough for the broadcast rights, and like any and all media corporations, controversy is their oxygen, and debate is their lifeblood.

Saturday night in Indianapolis, the Wisconsin Badgers and Penn State Nittany Lions could add more fuel to that debate fire.

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We already did a game preview and prediction, which you can check out over at this link.

We devoted a whole section to what, if any, playoff implications ride on this game. FOX Sports, who will broadcast this game Saturday night, are exactly like ESPN in that they are also a sports network which thrives on debate and controversy.

It’s why the sport of college football is flourishing right now, at the same exact time we’ve seen sports networks proliferate. The game is perfectly in bed with the networks because both mediums rely on you constantly having to debate about something. Before the playoff you had the BCS, which was popular that perhaps the best sports book ever written was called “Death to the BCS.” Prior to the BCS you had a goofy system with split national titles sometimes, decided by multiple media polls, sometimes days after play had been completed.

Yes what a train wreck it truly was back in those days.

Indeed the sport of college football truly moves along at a glacial pace.

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FOX did a media conference call today with Analysts Joel Klatt and Robert Smith previewing conference championship weekend.

Robert Smith says the winner of the Big Ten Championship Game should be in the College Football Playoff, regardless of what else happens around the country:

“The winner of the Big Ten Championship should be in either way, if Washington wins or Colorado wins. Regardless of if it’s Colorado or Washington, I think the winner of Penn State-Wisconsin deserves that fourth spot, assuming Clemson wins.”

Okay, but what about Michigan at #5? Also, where does Smith get the idea that Washington would drop out with a win? WHAT?!

Smith has no clue what he’s talking about there and we all became dumber for having read or heard that. I’m sorry I even copied and paste the quote from the FOX press release.

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Joel Klatt says the winner of the Big Ten Championship Game, whether it’s the Wisconsin Badgers or the Penn State Nittany Lions, should make the College Football Playoff ahead of Michigan:

“I don’t believe that you should penalize a team for wining their division, which is essentially what you would be doing to either Wisconsin or Penn State for having to play this extra game, and then just allowing Michigan to go in. So if Washington were to lose, I fully believe you should take the conference champion, even though Michigan would hold a head-to-head victory.

“The question should be more about Ohio State. They did not win their division. They did not win their conference championship. Even with one loss, I believe that if you’re going to talk about “deserving,” you need to talk about the conference champions first and then start whittling down.

“And then if there’s someone that’s unequivocally a better team, then maybe we should talk about them being included. But the whittling down process I think should only happen after you include the most deserving conference champions. If Washington were to lose, I certainly expect that the committee would include the Big Ten Champion.”

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Okay that makes sense. Michigan fans hate to hear what he says there, but Klatt makes several good points. While Michigan has the head to head over both the Wisconsin Badgers and Penn State Nittany Lions, they don’t really deserve to “bye week” their way in. Unlike Smith, who sounds totally clueless, Klatt gets it that Washington has to lose.

As for his Ohio State argument, he has some points, but then again, you don’t leave out a 1-loss power five team too often. You can’t leave out a 1 loss team who already beat #5 and #6 this season.

Still, the idea of a team kicking it on their couch during the final weekend before the postseason getting a better destination than a team playing in their conference title game is a problematic at best. It’s reminiscent of what Kirk Cousins said when we got this sound bite from him during the 2011 B1G Title game.

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Klatt says the most interesting matchup of the weekend will be between Penn State and Wisconsin:

“I’m thrilled to be in Indianapolis and to be doing the Big Ten game this week. I’m so interested in this game, as we all are, because of what it could mean for the Playoff – in particular with Ohio State sitting where they’re at and what the committee would do with the potential champion, in particular if that champion were to be Penn State.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.

He also consistently appears on numerous radio and television talk shows all across the country. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and Sound Cloud.

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