I know I am a few days late posting this now, but Bret Bielema is gone from Wisconsin. I think my delay has more to do with my being in shock, cause I didn’t see it coming. Let me go on record that I don’t dislike Bret as many in Wisconsin do, however I have been as skeptical as anyone. One of the most frequent questions was why was Bret not loved by so many in Wisconsin? It is purely opinion, but I think I know:
- We were spoiled by Barry. Wisconsin is the house that Barry built and Bret didn’t like being in his constant shadow.
- The record when it counts… he was 2-4 in 6 bowl games, with one of those wins in his first year as head coach, coaching a team of players Barry was primarily responsible. (Barry was 8-3 in bowl games, including 3-0 in the Rose Bowl)
- His record as a closer. As a die-hard Badger fan one of the greatest sources of frustration came into play in games when it felt like we should have won, but didn’t due to play calling. Falling into the same bucket is the consistent criticism of Bret’s clock management skills.
- I think there is a sense that he never earned Badger fan’s respect as head coach. Many were shocked by his assignment as head coach in the first place. When he came into the program as a Defensive Coordinator I don’t remember there really being any animosity, but when out of nowhere he was given the Head Coaching job just a few short years later I think it shocked many people.
Overall I appreciated the effort the team under Bret brought. He was responsible for bringing in some of my favorite players, such as JJ Watt, Montee Ball, and Russell Wilson. I think he was under rated overall and the Hogs should be proud to have him as a coach.