Timing means everything to Wisconsin this Saturday.
There’s no “good” week to be upset by an unranked opponent when you’re in the hunt for a national championship. But the sting of the Badgers’ heartbreaking 24-23 loss to Illinois last Saturday can be all forgotten if Wisconsin, led by quarterback Jack Coan of Sayville, can win this Saturday.
Because that win would come over No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. Upsetting the undefeated Buckeyes on the road would catapult No. 13 Wisconsin (6-1) in the rankings and probably land them on the fringes of the playoff hunt.
“They’re resilient,” Wisconsin Coach Paul Chryst told the media Monday, speaking about his team. “We have to turn the page fast.”
Coan and Wisconsin’s visit to Ohio State will be televised on Fox at noon on Saturday.
“There’s no question that when you play against good teams that after that game it’s another level of evaluation… every team that you play is a challenge and and opportunity, each one is different,” Chryst said during his Monday conversation with the media.
The Badgers are capable. Before their hiccup against Illinois, Wisconsin had outscored its opponents 255-29, with four shutouts and convincing blowout wins over two ranked teams, Michigan and Michigan State.
Coan has mostly sparkled in his first season as Wisconsin’s starting quarterback, completing 127 of 167 passes for 1,383 yards, with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. The former Golden Flash is second in the nation in pass completion percentage.
Wisconsin’s chances of making the four-team playoffs sit at 3 percent, a 30 percent drop from last week, according to ESPN’s Allstate Playoff Predictor. Ohio State, at 78 percent, have the best chances of making the playoffs.
But they are, after all, just numbers and predictions. The timing is right for Coan and the rest of the Badgers to change the math.