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Badger Bits: Life post Chryst

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[Ed: Someone on r/CFB posted something that looks an awful lot like Wisconsin's alternative jerseys for the Rose Bowl. We don't look like bumblebees or cyborgs. In the world of throwaway apparel we call that a "grand slam."]

Paul Chryst is gone, and odds are you are feel something between sleepy indifference and "End is Nigh" placard-wearing horror. The difference between the two has something to do with your relative faith that Bob Bostad and Bret Bielema also had something to do with the Badgers' ability to cultivate the local bumper crop of offensive linemen and identify rough-cut running back prospects. Gone for sure is an excellent quarterbacks coach--one who turned John Stocco into a 60 percent passer and Scott Tolzien into baby-Brees--as well as an intuitive play caller.

There is no question that Chryst's tenure at Wisconsin coincided with a run of outstanding offensive success. In his first year as coordinator, the Badgers averaged 34.6 points per game, a seismic jump from the 20.8 points scored the year before. In 2010, he presided over the what was then the highest scoring Wisconsin offense ever, averaging 41.5 points per game. In 2011, Montee Ball elevated his game to Heisman levels, Russell Wilson went from "great quarterback with an interception problem" to just downright great, and the Badgers averaged almost 45 points per game during the regular season.

Chryst's offensive philosophy is a natural fit for Pittsburgh, a program with a history of big-armed quarterbacks, big-time receivers, and a power running game. Whether he can deal with a host of psychological issues is another question. Chryst will be the Panthers' fourth head coach since the end of the 2010 season, taking over for the cold-footed Todd Graham, who sprang for Arizona State after just 311 days on the job. Graham's predecessor, Mike Haywood, was fired due to a domestic assault charge just 17 days after replacing Dave Wannstedt. Rallying player and fan support under the circumstances will not be easy for a first-time head coach.

For Wisconsin, moving on with Bostad may be the answer. He already coordinates the run game, along with his duties as offensive line coach. Adam mentioned Darrell Bevell as a longshot candidate yesterday, but hell, if Greg Mattison is willing to spurn the Baltimore Ravens to go back to Michigan, Bevell could just easily dump the Seahawks. Whoever takes over won't have time for growing pains. Wisconsin should be considered the early favorite to win the Leaders division once again now that the Buckeyes will be sitting out the 2012 postseason. With Chryst gone, however, more than likely so is Dayne Crist, making Joe Brennan--he of the most unexciting stat line ever--your prohibitive starter against Northern Iowa. There will be struggles next season. How bad will depend a lot on the new management.

Thursday's Links:

The Journal Sentinel has a full-detail rundown. Matt Hinton says Chryst has a heck of a resume, though whether that means he can handle the Panthers' psychological damage remains to be seen.

Off Tackle Empire gives Adam props for his superb timeline (which you should totally check out here). Also, holy smokes, Chip Kelly to Penn State rumors.

Oh that's right we're playing in that Rose Bowl thingy

The State Journal looked at Wisconsin's D-line versus Oregon's O-line yesterday. Verdict: Bad things.

Bradie Ewing on staying focused, heading home for the holidays.

Brian Bennett frets about the defense staying up tempo.

From John yesterday, Patrick Butrym and Aaron Henry on establishing their legacy at the Rose Bowl.

Adam sat down with Addicted To Quack to answer five questions about the Bret Bielema era. Here's B5Q's questions to ATQ.

ATQ also has a game preview highlighting the Ducks' struggles on offense in big games.

Wrapping up: Oregon study finds that male test scores drop when ever the school team starts winning.