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Larry Lage | The Associated Press | November 16, 2017

Badgers can inch closer to College Football Playoff with Michigan win

  If Wisconsin keeps winning, their odds should keep improving... right?

The West Division-champion Badgers seem to have a clear path into the College Football Playoff. Wisconsin, ranked No. 5 in the playoff rankings and in The Associated Press poll, likely will have a shot to play for a national championship if it beats No. 19 Michigan on Saturday at home, avoids getting upset at Minnesota and wins the Big Ten championship game Dec. 2 in Indianapolis.

The Wolverines (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) have publicly declared themselves spoilers, aiming to ruin seasons for the Badgers (10-0, 7-0) and Ohio State. Michigan, though, has not beaten a ranked team in a true road game since winning at Notre Dame in 2006.

Best matchup

Wisconsin has the nation's top-ranked defense and Michigan is No. 3 in yards allowed, just behind Alabama. Wisconsin freshman running back Jonathan Taylor is averaging 152.5 yards rushing, ranking No. 4 in major college football.

RELATED: How each of the top 11 teams can make the College Football Playoff

Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst and linebackers Devin Bush and Khaleke Hudson will lead a scheme designed to slow Taylor. The Wolverines averaged 288-plus yards rushing during its current three-game winning streak and scored 11 touchdowns on the ground. Michigan may rotate four backs against the Badgers: Karan Higdon, Chris Evans, Ty Isaac and Kareem Walker.

Inside the numbers

The Badgers are 10-0 for the first time in school history.

Wisconsin's Paul Chryst, Ohio State's Urban Meyer and former Michigan coach Fielding Yost are the only coaches in conference history to win 10-plus games in their first three years in the Big Ten. If Harbaugh can help Michigan win two of its last three games, he will join the select group. 

Player to watch

Michigan QB Brandon Peters.

In his first road start against a ranked team, the redshirt freshman is going to have to make some plays through the air to give the Wolverines a chance to win. Wisconsin gave up just 66 yards of offense against Iowa, setting a school record in a Big Ten game.

College Football Playoff rankings: New No. 1 Alabama leads the way, Clemson right behind

Peters has completed 61 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions, but he has thrown for just 329 yards in three-plus games in part because Michigan has been running the ball well lately. Against the Badgers, Peters will be forced to pass and he'll have to connect on throws down the field to beat them.

This article was written by Larry Lage from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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