Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema understands a lot of people believe his Badgers don't deserve to be playing in the Big Ten championship game.
Asked if he's insulted by the sentiment, he says he's not.
"I appreciate the question and understand it totally," he said Sunday. "I think there are 10 teams out there in the Big Ten that would love to be in the position Nebraska and we're in right now. When the two teams take the field on Saturday, neither is going to care how the other team got there or what their record is."
With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible because of NCAA sanctions, the Badgers will represent the Leaders Division against Legends champion Nebraska this Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The winner goes to the Rose Bowl to play UCLA or Stanford.
The Badgers (7-5, 4-4), the two-time defending Big Ten champions, finished third in their division behind Ohio State and Penn State after losing three of their last four games in overtime.
The 14th-ranked Cornhuskers (10-2, 7-1) have won six straight since a 25-point loss at Ohio State on Oct. 6. They won their division outright when Michigan lost to the Buckeyes and will be playing for their first conference championship since winning the Big 12 in 1999.
Nebraska opened Big Ten play on Sept. 29 with a 30-27 win over the Badgers, coming back from a 17-point, third-quarter deficit.
Pelini told Bielema after that game that he thought they might meet again in Indianapolis.
"Here we are," Pelini said.
Wisconsin won last year's inaugural Big Ten championship game 42-39 over Michigan State. The Badgers are looking for their 14th Big Ten title and a third straight league title for the first time in school history.
Nebraska has won 43 conference titles and is looking for its first Big Ten championship in its second year in the league.
The Badgers were 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the league after beating Minnesota in mid-October. An overtime loss to Michigan State, a win over Indiana and OT losses to Ohio State and Penn State ended the regular season.
Bielema said he's received supportive correspondence from people around the Big Ten since the Badgers clinched a spot in the title game.
"We've been on the short stick of some close, hard-fought games," he said. "The optimist in me looks at it and says, `Hey, we were in these games.' We lost to Ohio State and Penn State, who are ineligible to play in the game. One play here or there, we could we win them. We didn't. I get it... It's not going to diminish what we've accomplished."
Pelini said he doesn't buy that some of the luster is off the Big Ten championship game because unbeaten Ohio State, which finished first in the Leaders, won't be there.
"I don't really care what people say about that," he said. "Wisconsin is there because they deserve to be there. (Ohio State's) not there for a reason. That's not taking anything away from Urban Meyer or the kids who played at Ohio State and played their tails off, but there's a reason they're not there."