One of the only two unbeaten teams left in college football, Wisconsin, is looking to capture its third Big Ten title in the championship game’s history. The last time Ohio State squared off in the Big Ten Championship Game was back in 2014, against none other than Wisconsin. The Buckeyes captured the title that year and hope to stifle the Badgers this year as well. After knocking off reigning Big Ten champs Penn State, Ohio State will attempt to overpower the top team in the conference.
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A team that prides itself on not looking ahead, Wisconsin must now avoid dwelling on its recent past at the Big Ten championship game.
The losses against Penn State last year and Ohio State in 2014 sting for different reasons.
The stakes are even higher going into this season’s title game, in which the Badgers again face the Buckeyes on Saturday night in Indianapolis. Win and undefeated Wisconsin (12-0, No. 5 CFP) stands a pretty good shot at securing a spot in the College Football Playoff.
All season long, the blue-collar Badgers have shrugged off the whispers about the turnover-prone offense and the questions about their strength of schedule. The team follows the lead of even-keeled coach Paul Chryst.
The moment to talk about the playoffs has finally arrived. Wisconsin had perhaps its most complete game in Big Ten play when beating Minnesota 31-0 last week.
The Badgers have won 13 straight games, counting the Cotton Bowl in January over Western Michigan. The last loss came at the 2016 conference championship, when Wisconsin blew a 14-point halftime lead and fell 38-31 to Penn State.
The 2014 trip to the title game was even more painful, a 59-0 loss to Ohio State.
The Penn State loss was Chryst’s first trip to the Big Ten championship game as the Badgers’ head coach. He said he didn’t think there was any “extra edge” to players because of that loss.
“No … each year, it’s a different team. I think you always draw on all your experiences,” Chryst said. “But I think our team’s got a great focus. They’ve had it all year long and I believe they’ll continue to have that. But it’s about this year, this moment.”
This article was written by Genaro C. Armas from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.