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THE BIG TEN WEST TAKES A WILD RIDE ON THE COACHING CAROUSEL

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It was supposed to be a quiet year on the Big Ten coaching carousel. About that...

Barry and Gary, in happier days.
Barry and Gary, in happier days.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Pelini getting fired by Nebraska after a 9-3 season was a little odd, but ultimately defensible when you understood what Nebraska wanted and why they didn't think Pelini could (or would) get them there.  Their hire of Oregon State's Mike Riley as his replacement seems a little less defensible in the context of those reasons -- if you let Pelini go because he didn't contend for championships, it's a little puzzling to then hire someone whose best finish in 14 years at Oregon State was a pair of second-place finishes in the Pac-10/12 and who has an overall losing record in conference play (58-63).

But as shocking as that move was, even it might pale in comparison to what happened today, when Oregon State filled their vacancy by... poaching Gary Andersen from Wisconsin.  The Beavers giveth to the Big Ten... and they taketh?

LOLWUT

So in the span of less than a week, the Badgers:

a) got eviscerated, 59-0, by Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game,
b) lost their head coach to Oregon State, of all places,

oh, and

c) Melvin Gordon announced his decision to bypass his senior season in Madtown and enter the NFL Draft.

Pretty good times up in Madison.

So far, reports on Andersen's decision to leave Wisconsin have cited a desire to be closer to home (he's originally from Salt Lake City and made his name coaching Utah State), as well as his frustrations with recruiting and the admissions policy at Wisconsin.  There's also been rampant speculation that maybe, just maybe, Barry Alvarez isn't much fun to work for; seeing two coaches bolt for not-necessarily-greener pastures in the last three years does seem to kind of reinforce that notion.

Of course, the obvious next question is: who replaces Andersen at Wisconsin?  There are serious ideas:

And then the really serious ones:

...and now I'm imagining a line of 300 lb. Jon Leuers and OH GOD MAKE IT STOP.

There's also the Caring is Creepy angle to consider, of course:

It's unclear how many scholarships has left to give out this year (part of the rationale behind Beneventi's withdrawn offer seems to be that Iowa was running low on available offers), but it would be foolish if Iowa didn't at least kick the tires on some of Wisconsin's recruits to see if they were interested in flipping.  Wisconsin doesn't have a lights out 2015 recruiting class, but it's very solid (#28, per ESPN).  Per 247, a surprisingly small number of Wisconsin's commits reported Iowa offers, but there were two standouts who did (and who listed Iowa as one of their finalists), OT Sam Madden and ATH/TE David Edwards.  Iowa has several offensive linemen already committed for 2015, but Madden is a near 4* recruit with eye-popping size (6-7, 340).  Edwards is listed as an ATH by some services and a TE by others, so he appears to be a versatile prospect; Iowa has two potential TE recruits in their 2015 class already (Drew Cook and Nate Vejvoda), but it never hurts to have versatile athletes around.

So yeah: the Big Ten coaching carousel be crazy this year.