If there was an "uh-oh" moment in determining the Wisconsin Badgers’ chances of making the College Football Playoff it might have come when the latest Associated Press top-25 poll was released.
The Badgers moved down one slot, from No. 6 to No. 5, with Washington jumping ahead of Wisconsin. Clemson also remained ahead of UW.
If the AP is correct, Wisconsin will need some help to make the playoff, presuming the Badgers win the Big Ten championship game.
A look at the ballots from this week show that many voters dropped Wisconsin down a spot and put Washington in front of the Badgers.
Ten voters have Oklahoma, which did not play last week, ahead of UW on their ballot.
While Wisconsin’s tough schedule helped its cause, playing the likes of Illinois, Purdue and then struggling against 8-win Minnesota hasn’t given many voters a reason to keep UW in the top 5. After being ranked No. 5 last week, only 19 voters had the Badgers between 2-5 (yes, Josh Kendall once again had UW at No. 2) on their ballot.
Of the 12 voters who had Wisconsin ranked at No. 7 or higher, five had Penn State (which beat a sub-.500 Michigan State team) at No. 6 and nine had the Sooners at 5 or 6.
But now for the real surprising part. Four voters have USC ranked higher than Wisconsin. Three-loss USC.
Well, they must be coming off a big win, right? Well, the Trojans did beat Notre Dame, which most years might be saying something, but not this season. Regardless, that name recognition victory (the Irish finished at 4-8) plus one the previous week over UCLA (like Notre Dame, also 4-8) might have been enough to push them ahead of Wisconsin. I guess.
But No. 4? That’s where Garland Gill and Sam McKewon have USC. Ed Johnson has USC at 6 and Wisconsin at 7.
The wackiest ballot (I mean besides Kendall, who I’ve detailed previously)? How about Patrick Brown, who moved Wisconsin from No. 6 to No. 9. After a win. Against a winning team. Brown has USC at 5, Penn State 6 and Colorado 8, not to mention 8-4 Pittsburgh at 14.
Here’s all the ballots from Week 14 plus the previous four weeks for a comparison: