Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, who spent the past three seasons on the College Football Playoff selection committee, said Monday he would be shocked if this year's 13-member group left out an undefeated Power 5 conference champion because of a weak nonconference schedule.
No. 9 Wisconsin, which is undefeated, was ranked behind six one-loss teams in the committee's first ranking, raising the question if a Big Ten title would be enough to ultimately boost the Badgers into the top four or if their unimpressive résumé would keep them out.
"I think that would be very difficult to do," said Alvarez, whose term with the committee expired in 2017. "There's no part of me that says if you go undefeated as a Power 5 and win your conference championship, and you're not going to be in the final four? I don't see that. That would shock me."
"If you look back at last year, that Washington team's schedule was not that strong," he said. "That was discussed, but they were one of the four."
Selection committee chair Kirby Hocutt called Wisconsin's strength of schedule into question last week when he explained the Badgers' ranking.
"Strength of schedule is just not there," Hocutt said. "Their best win in the eyes of the selection committee is against a 5-3 Northwestern team, so the selection committee looks forward to watching Wisconsin continue to play, and looks forward to them playing quality opponents in the weeks ahead."
Hocutt's comments didn't surprise Alvarez.
"I anticipated us being ranked lower than we were from the committee than the AP and coaches' poll because I know the emphasis put on quality wins and strength of schedule," Alvarez said. "That's been a known fact."