No. 4 Wisconsin's playoff hopes likely rest in its ability to beat No. 8 Ohio State for the title, therein silencing the strength-of-schedule critics with a flawless 13-0 record for the first time in school history.
The Badgers are not only looking to clinch the Big Ten Championship title, they're also hoping to lock down a college football playoff spot.
Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook finished with 229 yards passing, but couldn't lead the Badgers to the end zone in the game's final drive.
Ohio State's case presented without the Iowa loss made them an inarguable odd-man-out candidate in this particular hand.
After Rafael Gaglianone's 46-yard field goal cut the Buckeyes' advantage to one score at 21-13, Dobbins broke through the line for another long gain. His touchdown immediately followed Dobbins's 77-yard run, a sprint that set the Buckeyes single-season freshman rushing record, breaking the mark Maurice Clarett had set in 2002. The Buckeyes led 21-10 at half and looked ready to run away with it. Had they been able to win big over Wisconsin, scoring more than just six points in the second half, they may have given the committee no choice but to put them in. In addition, they can point to Penn State a year ago and Stanford in 2015.
UW sought its 15th Big Ten title and first since 2012 on Saturday but left with its third conference championship game defeat in the past four years.
Freshman backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins, an All-Met at Bullis High, performed admirably in relief last week but watched from the sideline as Barrett marched onto the field to start the game.
The senior aggravated his already sore right knee last week in a 31-20 win against MI when a cameraman tried to squeeze by him on the sideline, an incident that drew condemnation from Coach Urban Meyer during Ohio State's postgame news conference. Barrett absorbed his first significant contact while being tackled during a third-down scramble on Ohio State's opening possession but popped right up without any apparent discomfort.
With more at stake than ever, the University of Wisconsin football team suffered another crushing loss in the Big Ten Championship game. Following the 2016 season, Clemson returned the favor with a 35-31 victory that came on Deshaun Watson's 2-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with 1 second remaining. Denzel Ward was every bit of a future first-round draft pick, recording two passes defensed to go along with his first quarter interception. Despite the Clemson running backs only combining for 69 yards, they contributed four touchdowns in the Tigers' victory.