Big Ten

Odd Behavior: Wisconsin Goes for 2 While Up by 25 Over Minnesota

| by Alex Groberman

Considering how prevalent sports gambling has become, it’s difficult to not tie in every little odd thing that may occur during a game to gambling.

As first reported by Deadspin, during Saturday’s college football match-up between the Wisconsin Badgers and Minnesota Gophers, an unwritten rule was broken in very strange fashion. While leading their opponents 41-16 with over four minutes remaining in the game, the Badgers scored a touchdown. Considering how poorly the Gophers had played up to that point, and how thoroughly Wisconsin had outplayed their opponents, the score didn’t shock anyone.

Things got interesting, however, when the Badgers opted to go for a two-point conversion when there was seemingly no need for it. The move was instantly met with hate from Minnesota fans because it broke the unwritten sports rule of not running up the score on your opponents in a blowout.

While the issue of running up the score isn’t particularly important to anyone besides the die-hard college football loyalists who actually still believe in the sanctity of the game, Deadspin was quick to point out another reason fans should be weary of the decision: The over/under for the game was 58.

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What does that mean?

Well, essentially with the score being 41-16 the combined score for the game was 57. A two-point conversion that Wisconsin had no business taking would have bumped the score up to a 59 which would give the win to anyone who had the “over,” while a simple field goal would’ve given the two teams a combined score of a 58.

Now, no one is accusing the Badgers of knowing the point spread or the over/under for the game, but anytime a move this peculiar happens for seemingly no reason, it doesn't hurt to wonder why it happened.  

For what it’s worth, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said after the game that he went for two because according to his chart when you’re up by 25 in the fourth you have to go for two.

So there you have it, if the chart says it, it must be true.