So by now I'm certain everyone knows the bombshell news yesterday that Bret Bielema has parlayed 3 straight Big Ten titles and Rose Bowl appearances into a job in the SEC with double the pay. Can't hate on him for that. If someone came to me today and offered me double the promissory notes I'm currently getting paid so that I can do the same half ass job I do now in a warmer climate I'd take it in a heartbeat. What I find interesting is the very polarizing reaction from Badger Nation to this news. Actually you know what? It about fits that Bielema leaving would have reactions on the extreme end of each other because it was that way basically from day 1 of his regime in 2006. People either loved him or hated him. Some fans this morning think it's a bad look for the program to lose a proven winner. Some fans are pumped he's gone and the way they write about him you'd think Bret was Darth Vader, Hans Gruber and Voldemort all rolled into one. Bottom line was the guy went 68-24, won three Big Ten titles, and made three Rose Bowls. He handled late game situations about as well as a college kid at his first kegger but that was Bret. He wasn't an icon but he had his moments. Kind of like Nic Cage. Had some good movies (The Rock) had some turrible movies (Ghost Rider), he's never going to win an Oscar but he'll give you a solid effort most years.
I guess my only annoyance with this move is the prevailing thought that Bret left Wisconsin to pursue a better shot at a national title in the SEC. Ummmm what? Yeah good luck with that Bret. You've got LSU and Alamama in your portion of the DIVISION. I'd say if Bret stayed at Wisco there was maybe a 2% chance he brings a national title home but in Arkansas? -50% and that's optimistic. Again, can't hate on taking more coin (reports are 4 million per year....which in the south is like 9 million per year), but to think he's got a better shot at a national title is flat out bonkers.
Now with all of that said, let's get on to the real topic of conversation this morning: Barry Alveraz coaching the Rose Bowl. Give the people what they want Barry! Bielema's major sticking point with fans was never being able to win the 'big one.' Well what's Barry's record in the granddaddy of them all? A perfect 3-0. Like if Barry doesn't come down the aisle in Pasadena to Mr. Perfect's theme, spitting out gum and whacking it into the crowd and tossing a white towel behind his back it's a shame. Dust off that LA Gear Badger windbreaker Barry! Put those shades back on! You're never too old to win a Rose Bowl! Mandelbaum! Mandelbaum! Mandelbaum!
PS: Clear front runner for the job is Paul Chryst, but the most interesting rumor I'm hearing? Jim Tressel. Could the vest be headed to Camp Randall? I don't know how I'd feel about Ohio State's most recent national champion coaching the Badgers but I'll tell you this; if it means I can dress up for home games like I'm member of the Mean Streat Posse I am DOWN.
Double PS: Nic Cage won best actor for Leaving Las Vegas in 1996? Consider me corrected. Looks like it was a pretty watered down year though. Like when the Cardinals won the Central in 2006 going 83-79.