After rumors ranging from Boise State's Chris Petersen to interim head coach (and Big Ten legend) Barry Alvarez electing to hire himself, it's now believed that the Wisconsin Badgers have their head mine. Ohio State's divisional rival in the Leaders division will now be helmed by a coach familiar to Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer: his former defensive line coach, Gary Andersen.
Andersen was hired by Meyer as defensive line coach from his spot as head coach at FCS Southern Utah and would be with the Utes through both of their BCS bowl victories (later as defensive coordinator after Kyle Whittingham's promotion to head coach). At Utah State, Andersen was 26-24, but went 11-2 this past year winning the WAC in its final year as a football playing conference and then winning last Saturday's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl over supposed other Wisconsin finalist, Toledo head coach Matt Campbell. It was rumored that Meyer lobbied for Andersen to get/take the Colorado State job (where Meyer had coached previously under former Ohio State head coach Earl Bruce) when it was last open in 2011.
While some might be inclined to think this wasn't the sexy, splashy hire they would've assumed Alvarez would've targeted, Andersen's done great work and has been coveted from fan bases ranging from Texas to USC. By going 18-8 in two seasons in Logan, Utah, where previously wins were certainly hard to come by, Andersen's shown he's game for stout rebuilding jobs. While he won't face personnel issues at Wisconsin anywhere near the degree he did when he took over USU in 2009, he will have to replenish a staff that's been decimated by turnover in the wake of former head coach Bret Bielema's departure for Arkansas.