As most of you already know, that's the 2006 football Badgers' final regular season record. And yes, we're not going to a BCS game. It's too bad that the latter point has drowned out the former, so lets get that out of the way today, and tomorrow I'll extol the extraordinary achievements of the Badgers this season.
We're not going to a BCS game (Rose, Orange, Fiesta, Sugar Bowls) this season, and that's for three reasons: (A) Ohio State and Michigan having great seasons and only two teams from a conference can make it, (B) we lost to Michigan, and (C) we weren't ranked to start the season.
We couldn't do anything about A, we failed to do B because at the time Michigan was simply a better team than we were, but C is worth talking about.
So why were we out of the rankings when the season started? (I think we were in the low 30's, receiving votes area). I suppose people were questioning the obvious-- how things would be post-Barry. Writers also noted the loss of Orr, Daniels, B. Williams, and Calhoun. In response, you could argue that given the defense's play in the bowl game and how everyone good was coming back, we should have been rated higher. It's hard to argue that people underrated our offense to start the season. Certainly we had Joe T. and Elvis coming back, and our line improved by attrition, but our wideouts had a total of one reception coming into the season, and based on the spring game our best RB was a former walk-on who transferred from MATC. All in all, maybe , maybe, we should have been a little higher to start the season. Lets say mid-twenties.
People complain about our non-conference schedule being weak, and it was. But look at Florida's besides its traditional rival games (Southern Mississippi, Central Florida, and Western (not Easten) Carolina). Look at Our Lady doing its typical "these teams sound legitimate but are really terrible" thing, including playing Army (3-8), Stanford (1-10) and North Carolina (2-9). Look at Michigan's schedule besides ND-- directional Michigan, Vanderbilt, and Ball State.
So even if we had played a tougher schedule, for example, if Oregon State hadn't backed out and we had beat them, maybe we'd be a few notches higher in the rankings. But we still wouldn't be ahead of OSU, and we'd still be behind Michigan because they lost to the best team in the country by 3 and they beat us by two scores. So none of the complaints, if our schedule was tougher or if we had been ranked higher, none of them would have made a difference. It was up to us to beat Michigan, we didn't, we knew OSU was excellent this year, so we have no right to complain. If you think about it, pre-BCS, we'd actually be going to the Outback Bowl, because OSU would be going to the Rose Bowl and Michigan to the Citrus. So quit your whining, and get a room at the Epcot Center hotel or something.
All the complaining obscures a better question: why have the two team limitations to begin with? If you have big leagues where every team doesn't play each other, couldn't this (having three teams from the same conference in the top eight of the rankings) happen pretty often? That is, two teams with one loss, and one undefeated team? Getting rid of the restriction would reward the best teams, but I guess they're more interested in spreading it around, except for the Notre Dame exception (they get in automatically if they're in the top 8).
They say the system is designed to match up #1 and #2, and pretty much do nothing else well (except over-reward Notre Dame, apparently). That looks about right.