Dienhart: News of Bielema's move shocking

Three days after leading Wisconsin to its third consecutive Rose Bowl, Bret Bielema agreed to become Arkansas’ head coach. Yahoo! Sports and “Big Ten Football & Beyond” correspondent Pat Forde first reported the news.

Bielema, who will be introduced Wednesday, led the Badgers to a 70-31 win over Nebraska in Saturday night’s Big Ten title game at Lucas Oil Stadium. With the win, the Badgers became the first Big Ten team to reach Pasadena three consecutive seasons since Michigan from 1976-78.

Arkansas 2012
Date Opponent Result / Time
9/1 vs. Jacksonville State W 49 – 24
9/8 vs. Louisiana-Monroe L 31 – 34
9/15 vs. 1 Alabama L 0 – 52
9/22 vs. Rutgers L 26 – 35
9/29 at Texas A&M L 10 – 58
10/6 at Auburn W 24 – 7
10/13 vs. Kentucky W 49 – 7
10/27 vs. Mississippi L 27 – 30
11/3 vs. Tulsa W 19 – 15
11/10 at 12 South Carolina L 20 – 38
11/17 at Mississippi State L 14 – 45
11/23 vs. 8 LSU L 13 – 20

But Bielema is off to a new challenge in Fayetteville, where he will take over for interim coach John L. Smith.

[RELATED: Bielema bolts for Arkansas]

Bielema went 68-24 in seven seasons in Madison with a 37-19 Big Ten mark. He led the Badgers to bowls each season after taking over for Barry Alvarez in 2006. Read Alvarez’s statement on Bielema’s move.

Bielema has no connections to the SEC, as he played at Iowa. He also began his coaching career in Iowa City before working at Kansas State and then Wisconsin.

[RELATED: Twitter: Tweets on Bielema's move]

What direction does Wisconsin go? It’s anyone’s guess at this point. This is one of the nation’s marquee jobs and figures to attract a lot of interest from around the nation, as Bielema has helped make Wisconsin one of the better jobs in the nation.

What do you think about this news? Drop me a note below.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Show Comments (17 Comments)
17 Post Your Comment
Tyler on 12/4/2012 @ 3:45pm EDT Said:


Anthony Brown (@SkinsHogHeaven) on 12/4/2012 @ 3:49pm EDT Said:

Reminds me of the day Nick Saban bolted the Spartans for LSU. Bielema is worth more to the SEC than to the B1G, I guess. And hey, our conference started this whole thing where a wad of cash trumps tradition and loyalty, so no complaints please.

BigRedOne on 12/4/2012 @ 4:04pm EDT Said:

See ya Badgers, hope you enjoyed the brief ride.

sbuel2 on 12/4/2012 @ 4:49pm EDT Said:

Is he sticking around for the Rose Bowl? Good luck to him in SEC. After an 8-5 season with title win by tromping Nebraska, it seems like he had something to prove and may it mean a better deal for the new job. Hope Wisconsin finds someone soon.

mike brown on 12/4/2012 @ 5:15pm EDT Said:

wow, the whining just dropped 8 notches,in BIG TEN. he knew Urban Meyer was going to make him look silly. GO BUCKS

abraham7373@yahoo.com on 12/4/2012 @ 5:28pm EDT Said:

Arkansas is a nightmare.Brett can’t coach speed in the SEC. He will fail there and take Arkansas to even a doulble low. He cannot recruit speed for Wisconsin so how is he supposed to recuit for the Speed happy SEC ????? Make that a triple low and failure.

Jim Amber on 12/4/2012 @ 6:17pm EDT Said:

Bielema was always out coached by any above average coach- n he wants no part of dealing with the new sheriff in the big 10- Urban…next defection… Brady Flounder Hoke

Big Ten Football on 12/4/2012 @ 6:17pm EDT Said:

Yeah, never liked Wisc. but will like them more now that Brent is leaving, might even cheer for them from time to time.Can’t understand the move and I don’t think he will do too good down there, but gets him out of the Big Ten so i’m happy.He can join Saban in the whiners club when things don’t go his way.

mark peshaba on 12/4/2012 @ 6:41pm EDT Said:

All this hype? He will lose 3 Rose bowls. He cannot recruit, OSU, Penn State and UCLA made a fool of him. Stanford will crush him.
Yes Wisconsin has talent but for him to think he can hang in the sec? Not a chance. 8-5 is not all that and his Rose Bowl 2012 was free.
Just saying.

J.C. on 12/4/2012 @ 7:11pm EDT Said:

I hope at least he said goodbye to his players face-to-face, rather than via text message or speaker phone and then run off.

But since it’s today’s coaching world, I’m assuming it was a mass e-mail or something (similar to other coaches when they leave).

Hope Arkansas realizes that Bielema was 1-5 against Ohio State in his tenure. In the SEC, there are multiple Ohio State’s and Michigan’s (in terms of resources).

husker2 on 12/4/2012 @ 8:37pm EDT Said:

Hats off to wisc program. Good luck in rose bowl. Bi
Brng a BIG trophy

R.W. on 12/4/2012 @ 9:12pm EDT Said:

From Madison and Badger fan….not a bit sad that Bielema is leaving……..and many many others feel the same. The SEC will give him a whoopin.

j.radke on 12/4/2012 @ 9:56pm EDT Said:

Wow, not only for the change but also the timing. It sure feels like that it is primarily about the money. I believe that he prepared his teams very well, but that he was a medicore game coach. Will he be able to get some Badger type O-Line to come to Arkansas? He has lots of self belief, but why did he lose 6 of 9 assistant coaches last year?

reese on 12/4/2012 @ 10:58pm EDT Said:

Glad to see Bielema LEAVE. He was One of Many Reasons Why People in the Conference weren’t crazy about Wisconsin either. Bielema always struck Me as a Bully and a Whiner at times. He will get CRUSHED in the SEC and I look forward to SEEING That. Arkansas has NOT made a Good Choice by any means. Good Riddance.

dcbadger on 12/5/2012 @ 12:01am EDT Said:

Don’t think he ever really fit in at Madison. I would be surprised if he succeeds at Arkansas. The next five years are set up to be Ohio State and Michigan ruling the Big 10 anyway, whether Bielema stayed or not. I’m sure Urban Meyer will whine his way to greatness, but getting to the BCS championship will be difficult playing New Mexico St and Akron in non conference games…..@peshaba?? wisc hasnt played ucla since Bucky beat them in 2 Rose Bowls. Do your homework!! Bielema did some good things but seemed to gag in big games. And agree with jradke….lots of coaches following a fellow assistant is a bit strange. UW needs to pay their assistants more!

sosofan on 12/5/2012 @ 10:07am EDT Said:

It was obviously all about the money..no other reason. It certainly wasn’t his experience turning around loosing programs as he took over a top performing and winning team. Good luck Arkansas..look closely at his record. Who did he beat, how many teams ranked or even with a winning record? One this year!

mikebucknut on 12/5/2012 @ 5:23pm EDT Said:

Im sure money was some of it, coaching a team who thinks they’re “ELITE” , yet they dont even sell their stadium out some saturdays! Wisc will NEVER do anything great. thats disgraceful

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