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Cancellation Of Washington-Wisconsin Game Has Hurt Both Teams' College Football Playoff Résumés

In 2009, Washington and Wisconsin agreed to a home-and-home to begin in Madison to open the 2017 season.

The Huskies were scheduled to travel to Camp Randall Stadium on September 2, 2017, with a return game set for September 1, 2018 in Seattle.

A few years later, when the Big Ten announced the move up to a nine-game conference schedule, it caused a crunch on scheduling for many schools. The game in Madison was originally moved back to 2021, but eventually, the entire home-and-home was scrapped.

From the Wisconsin State Journal in 2014:

The University of Wisconsin football team had a home-and-home series with Washington scheduled for 2018 and 2021, but those plans have changed.

The Badgers were forced to back out of the series because of conflicts with the Big Ten schedule in those seasons. They were scheduled to play at Washington in 2018 but need three non-conference home games that year because they’re scheduled to play five of their nine Big Ten games on the road. UW prefers seven home games each season for budget purposes.

Wisconsin wound up hosting Utah State in Week 1, the first game of a very nondescript non-conference schedule that also featured Florida Atlantic, and BYU, which is 2-8 and having its worst season since at 2003, if not longer ago.

Washington's non-conference slate was not much better, with games against Rutgers, Montana, and Fresno State.

If Wisconsin runs the table and wins the Big Ten, it seems pretty likely that the Badgers will wind up making the four-team College Football Playoff field, even with a weak schedule. Washington is in a more precarious position, with a questionable loss to Arizona State last month. Still, the Huskies are not in demonstrably worse shape than Wisconsin; the Badgers are ranked No. 8 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, one spot ahead of the Huskies.

Both teams are currently the highest-ranked programs from their respective conferences, which are at risk of being left out completely due to the strength of the top two programs in the SEC, Notre Dame's big year, and surviving contenders in the ACC and Big 12.

The Big Ten and Pac-12's moves to nine-game conference schedules should have potentially bolstered the member teams' résumés, at least in theory. In this case, however, both the Badgers and Huskies missed out on a huge opportunity for a signature September win, and it is directly related to the change in the Big Ten's schedule structure.