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No.5 Wisconsin will play in the conference title game for the fourth time in six seasons

For the fourth time in six years, Wisconsin will play in the Big Ten championship game, a spot it officially clinched Friday evening.

MADISON – No matter what happens at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday, No.5 Wisconsin has at least two games left to play.

By virtue of Iowa’s 40-10 victory over No.15 Nebraska at Kinnick Stadium, the Badgers win the 2016 Big Ten West crown and will play in the Big Ten championship game for the fourth time in the game’s six-year existence.

Wisconsin (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) is 2-1 in the conference title game, beating Michigan State (2011) and Nebraska (2012) and losing to Ohio State (2014).

Although Minnesota would win the head-to-head match-up against Wisconsin if the Gophers can break a 12-year losing streak, a UW loss would create a four-way tie – at 6-3 – in the West Division.

In that case, the first Big Ten tiebreaker compares the tied teams’ records against each other. Wisconsin and Iowa would be 2-1 against the other three; Minnesota and Nebraska would be 1-2.

But in the tiebreaker involving the two surviving teams, the Badgers would win — and be the West champion — based on their victory over the Hawkeyes in October.

UW would like nothing more than to win the title outright.

“We want to win, we want to beat Minnesota, we don’t want to rely on anybody else to win a game for us,” senior linebacker Vince Biegel said Monday. “We want to put the ball in our hands, and we have the opportunity. We’re in control of our own destiny and that’s where we want to be.”

The Hawkeyes jumped on Nebraska with 13 points in the first quarter on two 75+ yard touchdowns and never looked back. Tailbacks LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley rushed for over 100 yards and receiver Riley McCarron had over 100 receiving yards.

Wisconsin’s opponent will either be No.2 Ohio State, No.3 Michigan or No.8 Penn State.

Michigan advances to the title game for the first time if the Wolverines can upset the Buckeyes in Columbus. Ohio State would play in Indianapolis for the second time in three years if the Buckeyes knock off Michigan and Penn State loses at home to Michigan State. Penn State would advance to Indianapolis for the first time if the Nittany Lions beat the Spartans and Ohio State beats Michigan.

Kickoff for the Big Ten championship will be at 7:17 p.m. CT on FOX.

 


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