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Wisconsin Badgers Hire Paul Chryst: Our Reactions and HOT TAKES

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In the least surprising move ever, Barry Alvarez went with a "Badger Bro" (Wisconsin's version of the "Michigan Man") to lead UW's program. Here's what we at TDG think about the move.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Chryst will be announced as the head football coach at the University of Wisconsin tonight according to, well, everyone. Tonight's 6PM CST press conference puts an end to what was ultimately an uneventful coaching search for Wisconsin. Paul Chryst was one of the first names on any "who should Wisconsin hire" list, he's someone with numerous ties to UW and Madison (including being a football alum as both player and coach), and he "gets" what Wisconsin football is supposed to be about. In other words, he's the safe, simple choice...a bland American cheese as opposed to something award winning and exotic that would make a splash. Heck, he's not even an extra sharp cheddar.

With the hiring phase of the process out of the way, we at TDG decided to share our thoughts. Here's what we put together:

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Coaching Search Schadenfreude

gopherguy05: Paul Christ is coming to Wisconsin! Oh...sorry have Christmas on the brain, Paul ChrYst is coming to Wisconsin. Though if you have payed attention to Wisconsin fans, it makes it seem like some deity is returning to the promised land.

Paul Chryst is a good coach. He will bring back some good assistants that allowed the Badgers to have some good success under the #Karma administration. What does it mean for the future of the Badgers and the Gophers? Only time will tell. I do not however view this as the savior of the program coming back to lead the Badgers to the promised land. Wisconsin will be good. They will not drop off into oblivion. Chryst and his assistants will keep them competitive. That really is all Badger fans should ask for. However, they want a Chrystmas miracle. I don't see that here. The Badgers are a good football team. They are not a great football team and this coaching change won't change that. I don't see Chryst is the piece that the Badgers were missing to compete for the National Championship like it sounds like some Badger fans do. Will they probably go to a few more Rose Bowls in the next 10 years...probably, if they can get past Ohio State and Michigan State. The Gophers are a team on the rise. Iowa and Nebraska will be good again, but it might take a bit. This coaching change will not either cripple the Badgers or curse the rest of the Big Ten West to oblivion.

TL;DR The Badgers will not suck, nor become championship contenders because of this hire. They will be the same Badgers we have seen for the last 20 years. If the Gophers want to pass the Badgers, they will have to earn it, because the collapse of the Badger empire is not imminent. Sorry to burst excitable Gopher Fan's bubbles.

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JDMill: I understand why Chryst is the obvious choice for Wisconsin. He knows the program, but more importantly, he knows Barry. And Barry knows him. But for the life of me I can't understand what Badger fans are so excited about.

I can't imagine that Chryst would have been a serious candidate for absolutely ANY other Power 5 job based on what he's done as a head coach. His record at Pitt is underwhelming at best and he lost to Akron at home this year. What's interesting is that he's 13-12 overall and 7-9 in the conference since Barry passed him over for the same job two years ago.

But what Chryst was able to do is to literally double PItt's rushing output from 2013 to 2014, when they went from 125 yards rushing/game (103rd nationally) to 251 yards/game (16th nationally). And rushing is all Saint Barry cares about.

Barry Alvarez is making a statement with this hire that the only man that will do for Wisconsin is a Wisconsin Man... er, maybe an Alvarez Man is more appropriate.

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Ustreet: I look forward to another Wisconsin coach who forgets about his best weapons in key situations. I hope Pitt will look back on this hire in three years and think "Man, we really dodged a bullet on that one."

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HipsterGopher: My thoughts are thus...Fuck Wisconsin and fuck Paul Chryst. Pitt is cool.

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NorskGopher: We in Minnesota welcomes the new Coach of the University of Wisconsin and are honored that he will be the first Wisconsin coach to lose a game against the Gopher football team in a decade.

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DarkKnight5: Oh, Gary Anderson, we hardly knew ye. It took only two years for you to cut Geppetto's strings and declare that your name is Pinocchio, and that Barry Alvarez's strings would no longer control your every move. Deny it, and you will see your tiny wooden nose stretch and stretch until it becomes an easy target for the local population of your new home to use in dam construction.


Amazingly, Paul Chryst is ready and willing to shackle himself with the strings recently thrown off by Anderson. Apparently he'll be happy being the public, powerless puppet for Barry Alvarez. You can tell that Alvarez doesn't care who stands on the sidelines as he call plays from the AD's box, because he hired a guy who is 19-19 as a head coach and hasn't demonstrated an ability to improve a program in his three years at Pitt. Barry could win games with a cardboard cutout of of Han Solo wearing the head coach's headset on the sideline.

If I'm wrong about all this, and Chryst is more than just some poor sap that has to deal with press so Barry doesn't have to do it, then I look forward to Wisconsin backsliding to a .500 program over the next three years. Good hire, Wisconsin. Merry Christmas, Minnesota.

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Thoughts From The Badgerverse

Jeffrick: It kills me to say this, but hiring Paul Chryst is the right decision for Wisconsin football, and I at least appreciate Alvarez's transparency this time around. As long as Saint Barry is the AD in Madison it's clear he want things done the Wisconsin Way, which is, of course, The Barry Alvarez Way. And he's not wrong for doing that because it's worked. Quite honestly it's worked as well or better than any Badger fan has a right to believe it could have.

Since Alvarez took over in 1990 he's built the program into one of the best in the Big Ten, and his model of program building and maintenance through a ground-based offense with massive linemen continues to work well into the third decade since it was implemented. Whether it was Alvarez, Bret Bielema or Gary Andersen, they have run basically the same Alvarez system and my gawd has it worked- 6 Big Ten titles in that span, including participation in three of the past four B1G Championship games with an overall record of 205-105-4 and B1G record of 115-82-3. Alvarez brought the program to heights never before seen with three Rose Bowl victories, and while the program hasn't won in Pasadena since 1999, it could be argued that in the eight years since 2006 when St Barry moved from the field up to the AD chair, the program has actually gotten better: BERT was 37-19 in the B1G (68-24 overall ) with 3 more B1G titles, and Andersen in his short 2 year stint went 13-3 in the B1G.

Sure, you could say all of Wisconsin's recent success has come when Michigan, Penn State, and Nebraska are all down- but isn't that the point? Wisconsin is an upper Midwest school in a shallow recruiting area- the fact they've been as successful as they have is pretty remarkable, and the blueprint Alvarez has in place is perfect for a school that is never going to be a national recruiting power. For "Northern" schools, once you slip, what guarantees do we have you're definitely getting back to that? The population is shifting south and more and more of the best recruits are not from the Midwest anymore, so unless you're an established "national" brand it's going to be very difficult to get the best kids to come north to the snow and cold. Wisconsin has an established brand they can sell to their types of recruits- they might not get the best, but they're going to do a lot with what they get. Considering the alternatives for a school like Wisconsin (see Iowa since 2009), why change something that has worked so well?

Yes, it's a little embarrassing to lose two coaches in three years to lateral or worse jobs, but Alvarez has a point- his way works, so why change it? There's been many reasons floated why Andersen bolted so quickly, but we know for a fact he had wanted to transition to the spread offense that worked so well for him at Utah State but it never happened. Like it or not, if you're coaching for Barry you're going to use his system and his offense, which brings us back to Chryst: yes, he likely wouldn't be a candidate for any other Power 5 school based on his middling performance at Pittsburgh, but he's the perfect candidate to work for Barry Alvarez because he's going to do it exactly the way Barry wants it done. There's no guarantees the Badgers will continue to be so successful under Chryst, but considering the track record, the chances for Wisconsin to continue to set the bar for Minnesota and others to chase in the West division is much better done The Barry Way than any other.

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GoAUpher: I'll round out the #TAKES parade as concisely as possible. Paul Chryst is a good hire for Wisconsin. I would expect that he'll maintain their current level of success. I don't see him elevating the program to new heights. I hope he falls flat on his face so we can mock the "Badger Bro" hire the same way everyone mocks the "Michigan Man" mindset in Ann Arbor. Oh, and 'cause sad Badgers are the best Badgers.