(Editor’s Note: There was supposed to be the UW Basketball preview yesterday, but life got in the way of me getting it out. Because I run content on these two days, I’ve decided I’m just going to hold off on it until September, and use both Tuesday and Wednesday for my coverage.)
The confetti hadn’t finished falling on Lucas Oil Stadium’s field when news broke that (former) Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema was headed to Fayetteville to coach the Arkansas Razorbacks. Of course, this was incredibly awkward to hear, considering they just crushed the Legends Division champion Nebraska Cornhuskers 70-31, and were going to play the Stanford Cardinal in the Granddaddy of them All. Since it became pretty evident that Bielema was not going to be the coach for that game, resident athletic director and noted football savior Barry Alvarez decided he was going to put his headset back on for one more game and coach the Rose Bowl. And, while prepping for the game, Alvarez had to find a new head coach.
The King is dead. Long live the King.
Enter Noted West Coast Enthusiast Gary Andersen. Mister Andersen, as he will henceforth be named, was the head coach of the Utah State Aggies from 2009 through 2012, and has not coached a team east of Utah (!) since being the offensive coordinator at Southeastern Louisiana in 1988. He went 26 and 24 in his time as the Aggies showrunner, which is rather misleading considering how awful the team was when he took it over after the 2008 season. He won the Western Athletic Conference in 2012, going 11-2 including a win the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, crushing the #MACtion Toledo Rockets 41-15. This means he’s won more bowl games in the last three years than Bielema has. Which is sad, but I digress.
One of these coaches is a winner. The other doesn’t have the will to win. Guess which is which, and there might be a prize waiting for you at the end!
And boy, what a team Mr. Andersen is coming into. It’s not often that you get the chance to inherit a three-time B1G champion, yet here he is. Granted, he has some quarterback instability and questions that he has yet to settle, an injury to one of his running backs that may change how they deal with their new additions, a defense that saw a porous secondary, kind of just stay put, and a kicker that still can’t kick a football all that well. Not only that, but dealing with rebuilding the offense, changing the defensive philosophy, the enormous expectations surrounding him in Madison, and so much more has been served up on Mr. Andersen’s plate. Oh yeah, and then there’s what the other eleven teams are doing, too.
Over these next few weeks, we’ll take a look at the other 11 teams in the B1G, while also taking a look at each position on the Badgers squad all in an effort to determine if the Badgers have what it take to get to Indianapolis (spoiler alert: probably not). I hope you join us for the ride. On, Wisconsin!
Addendum: Mr. Andersen is the winner. Bert is not. #Bert