Five possible replacements for Andersen at Wisconsin
Gary Andersen decided to leave Madison after just two seasons, as the former Wisconsin head coach is taking over for Mike Riley at Oregon State.
The 50-year-old Andersen, who replaced Bret Bielema as head coach of the Badgers in December 2012, went 9-4 in his first year and 10-3 this fall.
So where does athletic director Barry Alvarez go from here? Let's take a look at the names that could be in play for the new opening in Madison.
Dave Aranda: Keep in mind that Alvarez promoted Bret Bielema to head coach after Bielema served as the Badgers defensive coordinator. He could do the same with Aranda, who has served as DC under Andersen and worked wonders this season with a unit that had a lot of questions entering the year. But at his press conference on Wednesday, Alvarez said that he would prefer somebody with head-coaching experience. Can Aranda be an exception, though? Players love him, but he could follow Andersen to Corvallis if he doesn't get this head gig.
Paul Chryst: The longtime Badgers offensive coordinator could have been in play before Andersen was hired two years ago, but Alvarez seemingly backed off because Chryst had just finished his first year with Pitt. However, Chryst is now three seasons in with the Panthers, compiling a 19-19 mark, and Alvarez could have him at the top of his wish list. Chryst spent seven seasons as the Badgers OC under Alvarez and Bielema, so he is very familiar with the Alvarez operation.
Pat Narduzzi: At some point, the Michigan State defensive coordinator is going to find a head gig that is too hard to pass up. He has stayed with the Spartans despite a variety of head-coaching and DC overtures, but a head gig with the Badgers would be tough to decline. He obviously is very familiar with Big Ten terrain after being in East Lansing for almost a decade, and he would be a real coup for Alvarez despite not having head-coaching experience.
Al Golden: A lot of Miami (FL) alumni, former players and fans would not mind if Golden left Coral Gables. I would caution those people to be careful what they wish for, however. The former Temple head coach is on his third athletic director with the Hurricanes, but he would gel very well with Alvarez. Keep in mind that Golden turned down the Badgers' head gig before they hired Andersen. He has Florida recruiting ties and would be the type of coach that would settle in nicely in Madison after doing a solid job facing tough circumstances with the 'Canes.
Dave Doeren: He served as Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator form 2006-1010 before moving onto the head gig at Northern Illinois and NC State, where he has compiled a combined 33-18 mark. He has the Wolfpack in a bowl game after a 3-9 record in his debut campaign, and he went 23-4 in his two years with the Huskies.
Other names to keep an eye on: Former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano would step in and run the style of play familiar with Badger fans, but his strong personality would eventually clash with Alvarez; Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is a former Badgers quarterback who would have to seriously consider the gig, but a lot of football observers believe that he's destined for an NFL gig. Wisconsin would also have to wait until the NFL playoffs are over to hire him; Finally, Dave Clawson was in the mix the last time the Badgers had an opening, but he just finished his first year at Wake Forest. Would Alvarez reach out again?
Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.