Ryan dodges college football question: Who will win, Wisconsin or Ohio State?

Dylan Stableford
The Ticket

Not wanting to alienate voters in the crucial swing state of Ohio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan dodged a direct question from "Today" show host Matt Lauer on Wednesday about an upcoming Big Ten college football clash between Wisconsin and Ohio State.

"On Nov. 17, a week or so after the election, Wisconsin will play Ohio State in a football game," Lauer said. "I want you to tell the people of Ohio who's going to win that game."

The Republican vice presidential nominee stammered, paused and then laughed, slapping his knees.

"They spoiled us last year," Ryan said. "We spoiled them the year before—Jane and I were at that game. It really depends on who has the better record is going to lose, because that's what happens."

[Related: Ryan visits Ohio soup kitchen for photo op, angering its president]

"Who's going to win the game, congressman?" Lauer pressed. "Tell the people of Ohio who's going to win the game."

"It always depends on who's got the better record," Ryan continued. "It's up in Camp Randall [Stadium] this year. So it's in Madison this year. Home field advantage works well. But if we're doing better, they'll beat us, and if they have a better record, then we'll beat them. That's always how it goes between the Badgers and the Buckeyes. How's that for an answer?"

"It's a terrible answer," Lauer said, laughing. "But it's OK, I'm out of time—you're lucky."

Wisconsin Democrats, though, pounced, firing off a press release that included a statement from Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair Mike Tate:

In Wisconsin, we are Badgers, not weasels--but not when it comes to Paul Ryan, who can't even give a straight answer when it concerns his home-state football team. He roots for the Steelers over the Packers. He won't rally for Bucky when it comes to the Buckeyes. Good thing the Chicago Bears aren't in a swing state, or we'd see him, hat backwards, wearing a Jay Cutler jersey.

Seventh-ranked Ohio State is 7-0 and leading the Big Ten with a 3-0 conference record. Wisconsin is 5-2 and third in the Big Ten at 2-1.