Wisconsin has the easiest schedule of any playoff-contending team in the country. And they don't to apologize for it.
COMPARE: Wisconsin vs. Any Other Team
The Badgers opened last season with a win over AP No. 5 LSU. Three weeks later, they pounded No. 8 Michigan State before dropping back-to-back game to No. 4 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State, both by seven points, including one in overtime. They beat No. 7 Nebraska in late October, lost to No. 7 Penn State in the Big Ten Championship and, for good measure, defeated No. 15 Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl.
In all, Wisconsin played seven top-15 teams (at the time of the game), the most in the country. They're currently scheduled to play one during the 2017 regular season (Michigan). They ran the gauntlet last year. Now they're gliding through a light jog.
Wisconsin is 4-0 after a home win after cruising to dominating non-conference wins over Utah State, Florida Atlantic and BYU, and a victory in the Big Ten opener over Northwestern on Saturday. While the soft schedule makes their playoff margin for error miniscule, if not non-existent, the Badgers have a very clear, and very friendly, road to the playoff: Win the three remaining non-gimme games (at Nebraska, vs. Iowa, vs. Michigan) and the Big Ten Championship.
It's far from easy, but considerably more easy than last year's path, or the path of every other 2017 playoff contender.
Where the miniscule margin for exists is in the Big Ten West, the weakest division in the Power Five. Even if the Badgers drop one game (e.g. Michigan), you can bet the farm the division's other fringe contenders won't finish with fewer than two losses. For example, Iowa already has one and hosts Ohio State; Nebraska is 2-0 but still has both Ohio State and Penn State; and Minnesota blew any division title aspirations with a home loss to Maryland in their opener.
There is no reasonable path to a non-division title season for Wisconsin. Pencil them in as Big Ten West champs right now. Heck, just use a pen.