Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fire Bret Bielema?

Here's a new blog I saw reading Andy Baggot's first impressions, second thoughts, and the third degree thing on Monday:

Fire Bret Bielema

My first inclination was to never mention this thing, sort of like how television broadcasts don't show streakers running nude across the field.

My second thought was that the creators of this site are probably 19 years old and can barely remember our last losing season of 2001, let alone the dark days of 1989. Spoiled newcomers to the Badger sports bandwagon. It also bugs me that the blogger has chosen to remain anonymous -- if you're going to promote this sort of agenda, put your name behind it.

My third thought was let's roll the notion out there for discussion here. Should UW even be entertaining the notion of firing Bret Bielema at this juncture?

The obvious answer, to me anyway, is no. The guy is 24-8, 1-1 in bowl games, and while this year's team is 3-3, the losses were to Penn State, Ohio State, and an admittedly awful if traditionally tough Michigan. Wisconsin is a handful of plays away from being 5-1 and ranked in the top 15.

While it could be argued that Bielema's rookie 12-1 season was accomplished with Barry Alvarez's players, it could also be argued that UW is now struggling with Barry's last classes at the core. Bielema should be judged when this year's juniors and redshirt sophomores are seniors and juniors. (Of course, Bielema had a large role in recruiting this year's upperclassmen.)

It could also be argued, as one of my friends has, that the program could be in for a steep dropoff next season, when this year's senior class departs. Unfortunately, that dropoff is on the verge of happening a year early. The ramifications for such a decline in on-field performance are huge. Watching thousands of fans leave Saturday night's debacle prematurely served as a reminder that if the football program struggles and the revenue it generates decline, the whole athletic department is in jeopardy.

Still, firing coaches with a 24-8 record three years into their tenure sounds like something for Notre Dame or Nebraska, arrogant programs for whom national championships are the only acceptable outcome.

This season is half over. Things look bleak right now, but we just finished the toughest stretch of our schedule, and a 7-5 finish and a bowl game wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. There haven't been too many three-game losing streaks around here lately -- thank goodness!

On the other hand, the wheels could fall off and we could finish 4-8, playing Cal Poly in front of thousands of empty seats on November 22. I still don't think Bielema would be fired at that point, and would be given another year or maybe even two to get things moving in the right direction again.

Fire Bret Bielema? I don't think so. Unfortunately, it took me 496 words to explain why instead of three.


deuces said...

As far as who runs that site, the domain name is registered to a "Jeremy Lange" (didn't you work with him at Pick N' Save)?

Most likely a UW student...

Scott Tappa said...

That was Jeremy Laehn, one of the funniest cats I've ever been associated with. Wonder what he's doing now.

Scott Tappa said...

Funny sidebar: last night I had a dream that I was at Camp Randall on a beautiful fall afternoon. The west stands were completely full. The east stands and the student section (I was around section P) were about half full. That was the entire dream. I woke up in a sweat.

Matt said...

Agreed, Taps. I think it's way too early.

I think people fail to realize that even the Emperor had some lean years. Perhaps, Bielema is a bit of a victim of increased expectations, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I hope we don't become like Clemson or Auburn (which fired their off. coordinator five games into his job).

As you mentioned, there are still some of Barry's "guys" playing key roles on this team. Bielema's recruiting classes have been pretty solid. It's what he does in the next couple of years that will be telling.

Also, even for all his ego and brashness, you have to remember he is a young coach. There's pluses and minuses to go with that. He may be able to relate more with kids and pull in some better classes, but he's also going to make some mistakes along the way that you hope he learns from. Barry had a much longer time as an assistant under some great coaches to learn from.

I'm not making excuses for him. After all, he took the job and is getting a fat paycheck. He has to take the good with the bad.

I also don't think the response would be as harsh if he exhibited a bit more humility. That's something that works when you're rolling but can come back to bite you when you're struggling.

Anonymous said...

If you can wait it out, Chili may be looking for a job in the near future. Austy

Anonymous said...

btw ... "streakers running nude" is redundant. Austy

Jim Polzin said...

I agree that Wisconsin hasn't reached the point where it won't have the ``lean years'' that Schwib referred to. What has everybody's undies in a bundle is that 2008 shouldn't be a lean year -- not with 12 senior starters.

And I have an opinion on the whole Barry's guys vs. Bret's guys argument, but I might as well put it on my own blog.

Scott Tappa said...

This comment from Badgermark was made under the Penn State game recap post, but it fits nicely here. It's a good summation of what we should be looking for immediately from this coaching staff.

Agreed - it's too early to bring out the witch hunt on Bielema, but he needs to have an organized team on the field against Iowa. Stop the silly timeouts, 12 men on field, illegal formations, etc.
QB choice looks like a no win right now. Neither guys looks different, but in fairness o-line is not showing much in pass blocking and receivers other than tight ends are pretty invisible.

Steve said...

This kid is no longer annonymous

This is free information from

Jeremy Lange
1904 Kendall Ave.
Apartment D
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
United States

Registered through:, Inc. (
Created on: 05-Oct-08
Expires on: 06-Oct-09
Last Updated on: 05-Oct-08

Administrative Contact:
Lange, Jeremy
1904 Kendall Ave.
Apartment D
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
United States
(608) 513-0207

Technical Contact:
Lange, Jeremy
1904 Kendall Ave.
Apartment D
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
United States
(608) 513-0207

PA Badger said...

The bottom line is Bielema needs to show what kind of coaching abilities he has right now! This team is not as bad as they are showing. Recruiting is tough as is it is in the Big Ten, a losing season, after being ranked #9, doe not help the cause!

Rock Jock Junior III said...

Bielema has to go, not simply for his coaching abilities, but also for his poor recruiting classes. I am aghast that most Badger fans are somewhat surprised by the poor season, what do you expect when you aren't bringing in any quality players into the program?

Anonymous said...

Are you partially or completely retarded? Do you realize that prior to the onset of the 4-game losing streak Bielema was one of the winningest coaches of the past few seasons? Suddenly a 4-game losing streak (granted embarassing) is grounds to fire the guy?
So I'm assuming you've got a replacement in order...someone who will win immediately without "his" recruits. Maybe you could send this miracle worker up to the New England Patriots, whose coach obviously sucks because (despite all their Super Bowl victories) the Pats have started losing.
Take a few moments of serenity, think about how short-sighted you are being, find some patience and stick your wang into a fuse-box!

I'm starting a "Fire Jeremy Lange" blog, so you can eat my azz!
Bret B.

Anonymous said...

We have had season tickets for Badger games for several years now.We are not students by any means,most of us agree that Bret Bielema MUST BE FIRED.He has no talent as far as picking good players,teriible play calling,he never accepts blame.When asked about a loss he gets so defensive and gives curt replies.What the hell you are getting paid big bucks so put a winning out there or you end losing most fans.We don't want to drive more than an hour to see these bums gets their butts whipped.They play worse than a middle school team.Fire Bielema and get a real coach.

Anonymous said...

FIRE BRETT BIELEMA.... PLEASE!!!!! After today's game against Michigan State Brett Bielema should be fired! He is incapable of coaching the badgers and Barry knows it but is TOO proud to admit it. Bielema looks like he needs to cal his Mom because the officials are PICKING on him. That's why he challenged the ball spot, got penalized for 20 yards for being on the field, totaly mismanaged the clock and called a time help to help Michigan State get better set up for the field goal. WHAT AN IDIOT!

Anonymous said...

I graduated in 1999 and I will tell you that Barry even in the losing season of 1995 would not have blown so many games at the end. Also he would not have made so many horrible decisions. If Wisco ever wants to win a national title or Big Ten title they need to make a change. The time is now.

The 12-1 season were alvarez's players. After that we have gotten worst. We are in last place in the Big Ten. It is embarassing. At the end of the day the buck stops at the coach. Ohio State fired Cooper after all those winning seasons and hired Tressel and won a national title.

I know you rant about the badgers of the 80s, but this new generation under Barry has pride. Bielema is not protecting that pride. He is not a good coach. He needs to go. Now is the time. Let him finish the year. Go out and get a stud coach. This is not fair for the team.

On a side note the Coordinators are horrendous as well.

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B-rye said...

Good job Bret on another outstanding bowl coaching performance. You could not coach Iowa pigs into a pen!

Anonymous said...

The trend line from 12-1 to 7-6 is pretty clear. Bielema is in over his head. Players aren't getting significantly better as they become juniors and seniors, which was the hallmark of Alvarez teams. Lets fire Bielema before he runs the program back to the Jim Hilles era.

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