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Great Hire by Wisconsin and Other College Football Rumblings

Gary Anderson

Anderson is a great hire for Wisconsin

Living in Big Ten Country and being as close to the Wisconsin football program as I can be with several relatives being grads of UW, I was as surprised as anyone to see Bret Bielema leave for Arkansas. It just goes to show that loyalty really doesn’t mean a whole lot anymore and shame on me if I really thought that it did.

On Wisconsin as the fight song goes and that’s exactly what former coach and atheltic director Barry Alvarez did in immediately and patiently finding a replacement. There were probably bigger name guys available for at the very least an interview, but credit Alvarez with finding a real gem in the non-BCS ranks in Utah State’s Gary Anderson.

Anderson is coming off a 11-2 season with the Aggies and a bowl victory as well. His teams have been highly competitive in taking BCS schools to the limit in several games including a tight loss to the Badgers. Where Alvarez had to make sure he scored with this hiring was in the ‘good guy’ department. Not that Bielema wasn’t a ‘good guy’  but he was no angel either. Frequently being spotted in Madison Area drinking establishments and having more than he should have became the norm rather than the exception.

With Anderson, the Badgers are getting a guy who personally called over 100 players and assistants to inform them of his decision to leave. He stayed up till well past two in the morning to complete the task. Being a good man doesn’t necessarily mean success on the football field but in this case I think the University of Wisconsin is getting both.

Matt Barkley

Barkley may not play in his final college game.

News from around college football… Oregon State announced that Cody Vaz will get the start at quarterback in the Alamo Bowl against Texas… USC QB Matt Barkley didn’t practice over the weekend and his status is up in the air in for the Sun Bowl. Barkley has been dealing with shoulder problems… Texas Tech suspended three players for their bowl game against Minnesota for undisclosed violations. One was a starting defensive back… Boise State got three fields goals from Michael Frisina and two TD passes from Joe Southwick to knock off Washington 28-26 in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Upcoming Bowl Games

Little Caesars’ Bowl – Western Kentucky (-6) vs Central Michigan – The 7-5 Hilltoppers will rely on running back Antonio Andrews to pund away at the Central Michigan defense. The Chippewas have a pretty good back of their own in Zurlon Tipton who scored 19 touchdowns this season. With WKU in the midst of a coaching switch, I like the Chippewas to cover in this one.

Military Bowl – San Jose State (-7.5) vs Bowling Green – The Spartans finished with an impressive 10-2 record this season and now travel across the country to take on Bowling Green who finished the season at 8-4. SJSU was led by quarterback David Fales who threw for 3,800 yards and 31 touchdowns. The Falcons are led by Anthon Samuel who had 10 touchdowns and just under 1,000 yards. San Jose State will be without head coach Mike MacIntyre who has left to take the Colorado job. I like the Spartans to win but will take the Falcons to cover.

Holiday Bowl – Baylor (-1) vs UCLA -  The problem with the Bruins is that you sometimes don’t know which team will show up. If running back Jonathan Franklin who rushed for 1,700 yards on the season gets it going then Baylor is in trouble. If Baylor and QB Nick Florence get it going with their high-octane offense then UCLA could be in trouble. In a nutshell, there’s your ball game. In what is essentially a ‘pick’em game’ I like UCLA because they should be able to run the ball and keep Florence and company off the field.

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