The Big Ten’s chances of getting into the College Football Playoff may lie completely with Wisconsin at this point, and in that case… things may not be looking great.
After the unveiling of the second edition of the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday, USA Today analyst Paul Myerberg compared No. 8 Wisconsin (9-0) to another team in the rankings… No. 18 Central Florida (8-0).
Wins vs. CFP Top 25:
Wins vs. winning records:
-UCF: 4 (FIU, Memphis, Navy, SMU)
-Wisconsin: 2 (FAU, Northwestern)
Games vs. common opponent:
-UCF 38-10 at Maryland
-Wisconsin 38-13 vs. Maryland
Wisconsin does still have a leg up here, as their potential remaining schedule (Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Big Ten title game) likely outdoes what Central Florida is facing (UConn, Temple, South Florida, AAC title game). You can also say that Wisconsin’s wins over the mediocre Big Ten teams like Purdue and Nebraska are more meaningful than Central Florida’s wins over the mediocre AAC teams like SMU and Cincinnati.
However, this comparison does show the potential conundrum of Wisconsin making the College Football Playoff while Central Florida remains so far down the rankings. Central Florida does have a pretty comparable resume up to this point, and it does seem a little absurd that they get put all the way down at 18 while Wisconsin is getting some benefit of the doubt just for being in the Big Ten.
For what it’s worth, both teams rank similarly in ESPN’s strength of record statistic, with Wisconsin ranking as No. 8 and Central Florida at No. 10. That said, Wisconsin has the most room to improve, as ESPN ranks them with the 13th best remaining schedule, while Central Florida is all the way down at 80th.