MADISON – Wisconsin’s formula for upward mobility, though neither sexy nor provocative, appears to be working.
Paul Chryst’s third UW team continues to win and continues to climb up the College Football Playoff rankings.
UW (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten) moved up three spots to No. 5 in the third rankings revealed Tuesday night on ESPN. The Badgers were No. 9 in the initial rankings.
ESPN analyst Joey Galloway, a standout wide receiver at Ohio State, believes UW will move into the top four if it finishes the season unbeaten, likely with a victory over the Buckeyes in the Big Ten title game.
“They should control their own destiny with a chance to beat No. 9 Ohio State and with Michigan ranked this week,” Galloway said during the telecast. “If you’re putting them at No. 5 now, if they win out they should be in.”
Losses by then-No. 1 Georgia, then-No. 3 Notre Dame and then-No. 6 TCU last week led to a significant shakeup in the top 10.
Alabama (10-0) moved up to No. 1 from No. 2.
Clemson (9-1), the defending national champion, moved up two spots to No. 2.
Oklahoma (9-1), which handed TCU its second loss, moved up one spot to No. 4.
Miami (9-0) jumped four spots to No. 3 after routing Notre Dame.
Georgia (9-1) fell to No. 7. Notre Dame (8-2) fell to No. 8. TCU (8-2) fell to No. 12.
UW, coming off a 38-14 victory over then-No. 20 Iowa, hosts Michigan (8-2, 5-2) at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The Wolverines made their debut in the rankings at No. 24. They have won three consecutive games since suffering a 42-13 loss at Penn State.
Fox analyst Joel Klatt, who is scheduled to work the UW-Michigan game, has UW at No. 4 in his rankings. Klatt has UW behind No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Miami.
Michigan, No. 16 Michigan State (7-3, 5-2) and No. 10 Penn State (8-2, 5-2) are tied for second place in the Big Ten East Division behind No. 9 Ohio State (8-2, 6-1).
“We can still be a 10-win team and kind of ruin people’s seasons,” Michigan center Patrick Kugler told reporters Monday. “That’s kind of what my goal is right now.”
After facing UW, the Wolverines close the regular season at home against Ohio State.
Michigan must beat UW and Ohio State and have Penn State and Michigan State lose once to secure a berth in the Big Ten title game.
“Our goal is still to go to the Big Ten championship and that’s still a possibility,” wide receiver Grant Perry told reporters Monday.
UW clinched a berth in the Big Ten title game, set for Dec. 2 in Indianapolis, with the 24-point victory over Iowa.
The Badgers are 10-0 for the first time in program history, but the larger goals – a Big Ten title and berth in the playoff – loom larger.
“It’s not something you think about a ton,” left tackle Michael Deiter said of the 10-0 mark. “It’s awesome that we did that. That’s history for us as the 2017 team. That’s something we can always talk about.
“But it’s not something we say: ‘That’s what we did this season. That’s the end of that.’
“We’ve just got to keep working to try and make it 11-0.”
Kirby Hocutt, chairman of the CFP committee, said UW’s 38-14 victory over then-No. 20 Iowa grabbed the attention of the voters.
“We were impressed by the win over an Iowa team who defeated Ohio State the week before,” Hocutt said. “The defense is what has really impressed the selection committee.”