The Washington Times - October 17, 2012, 08:29AM

When it comes to college football, what triumphs? Home-state loyalties or national politics?

On Wednesday, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan awkwardly — albeit good-naturedly — tried to opt for both.

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On NBC’s “Today” show, Matt Lauer asked Mr. Ryan, a Wisconsin native, who would win the Nov. 17 game between Wisconsin and Ohio State.

“I want you to tell the people of Ohio who’s going to win that game,” Mr. Lauer said, with audible laughter in the background.

Ryan burst out laughing.

“They spoiled us last year, we spoiled them the year before,” he replied. “It really depends on who has the better record is going to lose, because that’s what happens.”

“Who’s going to win the game, Congressman?” Mr. Lauer pressed with a grin. “Tell the people of Ohio who’s going to win the game.”

“It always depends on who’s got the better record. … 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 before the Badgers and the Buckeyes,” he said. “How’s that for an answer?”

“It’s a terrible answer,” Mr. Lauer said with a laugh. “That’s OK, I’m out of time — you’re lucky on that one. Congressman Ryan, thanks for your time this morning.”

“Thanks, man,” Mr. Ryan said.

Perhaps Mr. Ryan was wise to hedge. If the game were held this weekend, his pick would seemingly be Wisconsin — risking the ire of voters in the all-important Buckeye State. Ohio State is 7-0 and ranked No. 7 in the most recent AP poll, while Wisconsin suffered an early-season 10-7 loss to Oregon State, now ranked No. 8, and stands at 5-2 (the Badgers were ranked No. 13 at the time of the loss).