Gary Andersen Makes Foolish Decision to Leave Wisconsin for Oregon State

By Connor Muldowney
Gary Andersen
Getty Images

Just two short years ago, the Wisconsin Badgers made a surprisingly impressive hire, stealing Gary Andersen away from his position as Utah State‘s head man. It looked to be a good move for both sides, but one side made a poor decision on Wednesday afternoon as the head coach decided to bolt for the vacant position at Oregon State.

While it may seem like somewhat of an even trade as both teams are in major conferences, the Beavers are nowhere near the level of competitiveness in the Pac-12 that the Badgers are in the Big Ten.

Is Andersen trying to prove that he can build up programs that have been struggling for years or is he running away from any problems he might have at Wisconsin with boss Barry Alvarez? Either way, this was the wrong move for the coach who compiled a 19-7 record in two years at Wisconsin — seemingly on the rise.

It doesn’t make much sense for a coach to leave a program that just went to a conference title game for one that hasn’t won a conference title since 2000.

Leaving the talents of Melvin Gordon (although it’s unlikely he stays), Corey Clement and a nationally-recognized defense, for a team that just lost Sean Mannion and will likely be rebuilding for the next couple of seasons seems foolish — to put it nicely.

Many people can argue that the Big Ten is the weakest conference in football, but this is one that has two teams in the top eight as well as 10 teams heading to a bowl game this year — a record for the conference. If you think Andersen left because of the “downward slope” of the Big Ten, you, too, are a fool.

Andersen will soon regret his decision to leave running back U for the likes of backup quarterbacks and mediocre play at Oregon State. While the next Wisconsin coach is enjoying nine and 10-win seasons, Andersen will be lucky to finish with seven or eight wins and a bowl game each year.

For Wisconsin, however, it’s next man up.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at connor.muldowney@rantsports.com.

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