Wisconsin head Gary Andersen has tried to stay out of the BCS debate all season, saying it his not his style to campaign or lobby for his team. He had even professed to not know where the Badgers stood in the standings.
But with Wisconsin creeping toward BCS at-large eligibility, Andersen did a bit of stumping on Monday.
Asked at his weekly news conference if he was starting to pay more attention to BCS possibilities after the Badgers reached No. 15 this week, he offered this:
"You know, the best thing I say about that is, if they can find a way to win this game against Penn State [on Saturday], do I think that they deserve that opportunity to play in a BCS bowl game? Absolutely, yes," he said. "Again, I don't have a bunch of say in that, but I do believe that. I think that they've put themselves in the elite of the elite position in the Big Ten conference, and to do what they've done, if they can win on Saturday, then I believe they should be given that opportunity."
Andersen said after Saturday's 20-7 win at Minnesota that Wisconsin was close to being a great team. On Monday, he went ahead and said that the 9-2 Badgers already had achieved that by the way they prepared and performed each week.
"This is a great football team," he said. "I don't want it to end yet, and they don't want it to end yet."
Wisconsin would need to climb one more spot to achieve at-large BCS eligibility. A win over Penn State should do it, as others in front of the Badgers will lose this week or in championship games. Wisconsin's only losses were on the road at No. 3 Ohio State and No. 12 Arizona State, both of whom will be playing for conference championships next week. And of course the loss to the Sun Devils was mired in controversy.
It took too long for voters in the major polls to recognize how good the Badgers are, but the team is up to No. 14 in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches' polls this week. I respect Andersen for not getting on a soap box, but Wisconsin needed something to force people to pay attention. A little more campaigning earlier on could have helped the cause, but the Badgers should still end up in a good position when it's all said and done.