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November 2, 2011

Distractions now at a minimum

MADISON - As one of the more boisterous and contagious personalities on the Wisconsin football team, junior Peter Konz made it clear how he prefers taking the Bowl Championship Series for what it is.

"I don't deal with witchcraft," Konz said following a practice leading into UW's game at Ohio State. "I don't dabble in this wizardry of Hogwarts BCS school. How a computer can sense what team is hot and emotion…what is this? Terminator 2?"

Clearly the fourth-year player isn't too high on the system in place when it comes to determining college football's national champion. At the time of that interview, Wisconsin was a 6-1-football team ranked No. 15 in the BCS.

Now, a week later and having lost yet another heartbreaking game, Wisconsin shouldn't have to worry too much about the BCS and it's ranking. The only way it will be playing in one of the four premier bowl games is by sneaking in the Big Ten championship game and winning it.

It will need some help to do so.

But staying consistent with his approach, Konz hasn't paid to much attention to scenarios that would eventually land Wisconsin inside Lucas Oil Stadium on Dec. 3rd.

"I'm kind of glad that we don't have to focus on that anymore," Konz said following Tuesday's practice. "At first I didn't think I paid very much attention, but now I kind of realize I was paying more attention than I thought I was."

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema, much like Konz, consistently took the high road when breached about UW and it's BCS chances while it was still undefeated. Like most coaches do in his position, Bielema simply said his team would continue to take it one game at a time with hopes of having things fall in place by the end of the season.

Now, with two conference losses weighing his team down, Bielema is well aware of the scenario (UW wins out, Ohio State loses once more and Penn State loses at least one game before playing in Madison) that would give his team a chance to play in the inaugural Big Ten title game.

He's just not harping on it.

"The more you can focus on a task at hand it just helps the picture become clearer overall," Bielema said. "I understand it, and I know there's a lot of scenarios out there. I think that's something that's on their (the players) radar, but it's not something we openly discuss."

Konz, having been on a number of teams throughout his career that suffered disappointing losses, made mention of UW's 2009 Champs Sports Bowl victory over Miami.

The Hurricanes were a top-15 team at the time of the game and many pundits expected an easy win for Miami. That, at least according to Konz, is when Wisconsin is its most dangerous as evidence by its 20-14 win in that game.

When Wisconsin is down and seemingly out is when it rises to the challenge.

"I think it's just easier to focus if you're in that role," Konz said. "I don't think we really took it that poorly when we were undefeated this year. Obviously it just makes it easier to focus when all the distractions are out of the way. You don't have to worry about, 'Hey, we need to keep winning.'

"You just go out there and do what you do day in and day out."

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