Big Ten Championship Game Preview: Badgers can become Big Ten’s bellwether program

With the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers 11th-straight win over Minnesota, UW presented itself with an opportunity to win a Big Ten title next weekend. It’s the goal of every team, every year — win a conference championship.

You can’t get to the national title picture or get national respect without it (unless you’re in the SEC). National respect could very well come Wisconsin’s way with a win on Saturday against Ohio State, so could a New Years Six bowl game.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today, because all of that comes as a byproduct of what a championship would mean in the bigger picture of history.

That’s because no matter how the rankings shake out for this season, the Wisconsin Badgers have an opportunity to do something that has never been done in program history — become a Big Ten dynasty.

Yes, we’re talking about the “D” word.

With a win over Ohio State on Saturday, Wisconsin would win its fourth Big Ten championship in five years. It would also be 3-0 in Big Ten championship games, clearly dominating the short history of the event.

Dynasties are built on championships and tradition, and with a win it would be hard to deny the numbers suggesting UW is indeed a modern day dynasty.

Consider these facts:

  • UW can win four championships in just five years, but it took 41 years for UW to win its first four titles during the modern era (1950 and on)
  • A win would give these Badgers most championships of any decade in school history.
  • Then there’s the fact that since the modern era of college football began (1950 to today), no Big Ten team outside of Ohio State or Michigan has won the number of championship in the span we are talking about.

It’s a feat that harkens back to the Ohio State teams of the mid-2000’s, who won four Big Ten titles in four years. It’s a feat that reminds people of the “Big 2, little 8″ days of the 1970’s — you know, when no one outside of Michigan and OSU could win a title.

Yes, we’re talking about a chance to become that type of dominant in Big Ten play. It’s a level UW could only dream of reaching just a decade ago when it was still fighting to not bounce up and down the Big Ten standings.

Considering all the records broken, the Rose Bowls played in and impact on the next level (see Russell Wilson and J.J. Watt to name a few) it is hard to deny the current Wisconsin Badgers’ opportunity to cement itself as the Big Ten’s bellweather program.

Unquestionably, the program is in the midst of the greatest period since the first decade as members of the conference (1896 to 1906) at a bare minimum.

At best, it has the opportunity to become the program modern day kids think of when the words “Big Ten” come out of someone’s mouth.

I mean, think about this — a junior in high school has seen either Ohio State or Wisconsin win the Big Ten 11 of his 17 years on this earth, and a sophomore has seen it happen nine times in 15 years or 10 times in 16 years.

That kind of repetition in winning titles matters, and a win on Saturday would certainly help cement UW in the minds of the younger generation.

Imagine this…one more win in Indy and Wisconsin can go from the hunter chasing the big programs like Michigan and Ohio State; to a team Michigan wishes the could be and OSU can’t find a way to beat for a Big Ten title to save their lives.

All that’s left to do is go out and win one in Indianapolis, and that may be easier said than done with Ohio State staring the Badgers in the face.

However, if there’s any program capable of having Ohio State’s number in Big Ten play these days it is the Wisconsin Badgers.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, as well as Publisher of Big Ten site