INDIANAPOLIS — Gary Andersen admitted late Saturday night he and other coaches on the University of Wisconsin football staff were so consumed with preparation leading up to the Big Ten Conference championship game they hadn't stopped to think what the team's bowl fate might be come Sunday.
Therefore, the Badgers coach didn't care to speculate how his team's 59-0 loss to Ohio State would impact its bowl destination.
"To be honest with you, we were so locked in on this thing and trying to win a (Big Ten) championship, I didn't even discuss that with anybody," Andersen said. "I have no idea."
A win over the Buckeyes would likely have boosted UW (10-3) into consideration for one of the four bowls controlled or advised by the College Football Playoff committee, which counts UW athletic director Barry Alvarez among its members. Instead, an assortment of bowl projections have as many as three other three-loss teams — Arizona, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss — heading to those CFP bowl games.
The CFP will announce its four semifinalists at 11:45 a.m. Sunday on ESPN. At 1:45 p.m., the CFP will announce pairings for the Cotton, Fiesta and Peach bowls and reveal its final top 25 rankings at about the same time the Orange Bowl will announce its two opponents.
The Badgers will not likely learn their bowl destination, offically, until mid-afternoon. Multiple projections have them off to the Outback Bowl in Tampa, though the Holiday Bowl in San Diego — in its first year as a Big Ten tie-in — could also be an option.
As they nursed the wounds of the whipping Ohio State gave them, several UW players said the chance can't come soon enough.
"You get another chance to go out there and show that that wasn't us," Badgers defensive back Sojourn Shelton said. "And playing in a bowl game, we're going to play a good team so we have to fix whatever we have to fix."
Andersen expected that process to begin Sunday once he rolled out of bed following an early-morning return to Madison with the team after the game.
"I'll wake up, get some things evaluated and spend some time there," Andersen said. "I think it's important the kids get a couple days off, catch their breath with academics. Sometimes when you get into these spots, you have to completely evaluate everything within the program. Why did this happen?
"There is a reason this happened. They're good. Are they that good for that score? I'll have to watch the film and evaluate that."
From the infirmary
A major concern for the Badgers facing Ohio State was the health of sophomore center Dan Voltz (left ankle) and junior guard Ray Ball (right calf).
Each was injured last week during a 34-24 victory over Minnesota.
Voltz didn’t practice this week and Ball was the preferred first option to slide into the mix at left guard with senior Dallas Lewallan moving to center.
Voltz lasted one series before he had to be helped to the sidelines.
As expected, Lewallan moved to center and Ball to left guard.
• It’s expected Voltz will be ready for the bowl game, but that’s not the case with senior defensive tackle Konrad Zagzebski. He suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee.
• Senior tight end Sam Arneson was removed from the game as a precaution after suffering a possible concussion.
He’s expected to be ready for the bowl game.
Tribute to Karageorge
Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett wore No. 53 in honor of teammate Kosta Karageorge, who died earlier this week as the result of an apparent suicide. Buckeyes players also wore No. 53 stickers on their helmets for the game with the Badgers.
Badgers quarterback Joel Stave attempted 43 passes (completing just 17). That was the second-highest total of his career (he attempted 53 last season vs. Penn State). ... UW punter Drew Meyer traded records with Ohio State counterpart Cameron Johnston. Meyer's eight punts and 329 yards broke Johnston's championship game records (seven for 302) set last year in a loss to Michigan State. Johnston's 73-yard punt in the first half broke Mey'er record of 61 yards set in 2012 against Nebraska. His 53.1-yard average also set a title game record. ... Badgers senior Kenzel Doe had a season-high 114 yards on six kick returns. ... UW defensive end Jake Keefer recorded his first career blocked field goal, denying a 29-yard effort by Sean Nuernberger in the fourth quarter. ... The Badgers had a season-best three fourth-down conversions (3-of-5).
Asked if he considered Ohio State worthy of one of the four berths in the CFP semifinals, Andersen answered an emphatic yes.
"From what I saw out there — (and) I think we saw some pretty good football teams out there throughout the year — it's the best team we've seen, by far," Andersen said. "I'd like to see them get into the Final Four, take a shot at it for a good friend in Urban (Meyer) and the Big Ten Conference. I think it would be fantastic."