The Buckeyes defeated Michigan 37-21, giving the Wolverines their first conference loss. All Wisconsin had to do was win at Kinnick Stadium to win a share of the conference title and get a free pass to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl.
So you can bet that Wisconsin's players and coaches were on an emotional high entering the game. Although the players did not watch the game beforehand, they were made aware of the score before kickoff and knew that Ohio State had just given them a wonderful gift.
"That was a good feeling and there was a good feeling before that," junior tight end Owen Daniels said. "I think everyone just got a little more excited and knew that there was a lot more riding on this game than we knew five minutes before that. We were all ready to go. We were excited…"
Knowing full well that they once again controlled their own BCS destiny, the Badgers took the field—sans Anthony Davis—and watched everything they worked for and dreamed for since fall camp and beyond get crushed by a stifling Iowa defense that halted Wisconsin's running game and forced turnover upon turnover.
A loss is naturally deflating to any team but to lose two consecutive games by a total of 58 points was emotionally draining and demoralizing to the Badgers.
"Just a letdown for us. Just lack of plays," senior defensive end Jonathan Welsh said of the last two games. "We just didn't make plays against either of them."
The excitement quickly subsided into something less, particularly once the game got out of hand.
"Just disappointment," Welsh said. "It was more about winning the game than looking ahead of ourselves. It was just disappointment losing another game."
"It's indescribable," sophomore quarterback John Stocco said on his emotions. "We've had a hell of a season, we've got one big game left but obviously, we had some higher goals."
Nonetheless, the Badgers are 9-2 and most likely headed to a New Year's Day bowl game. But the team at the beginning of the season talked Pasadena and now they're likely settling for Tampa.
"It's very disappointing because our coach preached about finishing the season and finishing good, finishing on a good note," sophomore tailback Booker Stanley said. "We're 9-2 but these last couple of weeks have been hard.
"We had our sights on the Rose Bowl and winning the Big Ten Championship and the seniors who were there for about five years, they worked hard for it and it just wasn't meant to be," Stanley said.