Wisconsin's transformation from Big Ten doormat — 10 total wins from 1986-90 — to national relevance was quick and dramatic, though, 25 years after that breakout 10-win 1993 season, the Badgers are still chasing a national championship.
Last year, Wisconsin fell 40 yards short of a College Football Playoff spot, and in 1998 and 2006, losses to Michigan ultimately kept the one-loss Badgers out of the BCS Championship. Mixed among those misses were several other promising seasons that ended with second-tier bowl games instead of title shots.
Where do the Badgers rank among other get-over-the-hump programs?
Note: This isn't a ranking of best programs, which programs have been the closest to getting over the hump or even which programs will get over the hump first. They're programs who've been consistently good for the longest but have failed in taking the next step of making the College Football Playoff or winning a national championship
While Georgia has fallen short of the national championship expectation, last year, they finally won the SEC for the first time since 2017 (and just the third time since 1983) and had a national title shot in overtime.
The Bulldogs have failed to win eight games only once since 1997, have 11 10-win seasons since 2002 and, for what it's worth, have been ranked in the AP top 25 in all but four of the last 54 seasons.
Georgia would be ranked higher if they didn't already get over a couple big humps.
Michigan has as much pressure as any FBS program to get over the hump and win their first national title in 21 years, but they haven't been good for large chunks of the 21st century, which shoves them down the list.
Since the 1997 championship, the Wolverines have eight 10-win seasons and have often been in position to win the program's second title since the 1940s. They've also lost five or more games eight times since 2005 and have finished below .500 three times since 2008.
Michigan might sit atop rankings of perception and expectation. In reality, they've been a mediocre program for much of the last 20 years.
Since 2000, TCU has 12 seasons with at least 10 wins, including 10 with at least 11 wins. They have eight conference championships since 1999 and have been ranked in the AP top 25 in all but one of the last 17 seasons.
Why aren't they higher?
Several mediocre or bad seasons. At 3-5, they're on their way to a fifth .500-or-worse season since 2001 and have failed to win more than seven games four times in the last six years.
Oklahoma State won 10 games in each of the last three years, has six 10-win seasons since 2010, and Mike Gundy has posted the six highest single-season win totals in program history. They averaged 9.6 wins from 2008-17, haven't finished with fewer than seven wins since 2005 and have finished ranked in the AP top 25 in seven of the last 10 years.
The Cowboys, however, only have one conference title in the last 40 years (and two in the last 65 years) and while they've consistently beaten the Big 12's big boys and occasionally flirted with national contention, they can't get over the hump.
5. Notre Dame
Notre Dame got over one hump with their 2013 BCS Championship Game appearance but still haven't won a title in 30 years.
Like Michigan, the Irish would be higher if they didn't wade through mediocrity for large periods of the last three decades (and they'd be a close second on a perception list). But, unlike the Wolverines, because Notre Dame hasn't won a title since Rain Main was tearing up the box office, they're in the top five.
Stanford is Stanford. I get it. They had 65 fans at Saturday's game vs. Washington State. Even when Stanford is really good, no one seems to notice.
Still, since 2010, the Cardinal has won at least 11 games five times (and another with 10 wins), finished in the AP top 10 four times and appeared in five high-level bowl games, including three Rose Bowls. They've also won three conference titles since 2012.
All that success but no appearances in the BCS Championship or College Football Playoff.
3. Boise State
Boise State has obvious limitations, but they're still No. 3 thanks to remarkable long-term stability.
Since 1999: Fifteen 10-win seasons, 207-43 overall records (.828), 11 11-win seasons, 8 12-win seasons and 13 conference championships. Also, they have three division titles since 2014.
The Broncos might've made the BCS Championship Game in 2010 or 2011 had they not missed field goals vs. Nevada and TCU, respectively.
Virginia Tech hasn't won fewer than seven games in a season since 1992, has 14 10-win seasons since 1995, has been ranked in the AP top 25 all but one year since 1993 and has since AP top-10 finishes since 1995.
Despite the success, the Hokies have zero all-time national championships and have repeatedly failed to get over the hump.
Since 1993, Wisconsin has six conference titles, 12 seasons with 10 or more wins and has been ranked in the AP top 25 in all but one year (they've been ranked in each year since 1997). They have one sub-.500 season since 1996, seven seasons with 11 or more wins since 1998 (including five since 2010) and have been ranked in the final AP top 10 seven times since 1993.
They lost 10 total games from 2014-17 but never got a title shot.