When Gary Andersen called Barry Alvarez to tell him he was resigning to accept the head coaching job at Oregon State, he probably didn't use the phrase "It's not you, it's me." And like most people, if Andersen had said that, he probably didn't mean it.
As the University of Wisconsin faces its second head football coaching search in three years, Badger fans went through every stage of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, even if the stages flew by in a single news cycle.
Not surprisingly, Andersen wasn't interested in pinpointing a reason for his exit, but plenty of suggestions circulated through back channels. One rumor centered on Andersen having to struggle to get certain players into UW-Madison because they didn't meet the school's academic standards. If that's true, perhaps Andersen's leaving isn't such a bad thing. Badger fans take pride in the school's academic reputation. I doubt most would be comfortable with a revolving door of questionable recruits fighting to simply stay eligible.
Some media suggested Alvarez's shadow as a past coach looms too large over the football program. Or even that Alvarez involves himself too closely in day-to-day operations. Andersen himself directly denied this.
Media reports at press time indicate that Alvarez has picked as his new man Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Paul Chryst. But, a notice to all future Badgers football coaching candidates: Alvarez isn't leaving. If you can't operate with a coaching legend as your boss, you're going to need to look elsewhere for employment.
No one likes getting dumped, but fans needn't worry. Wisconsin's football program has advanced past the point where a regression to irrelevance is likely. And when the foundation is strong, the house can be fixed. In this case, if Andersen told Alvarez, "It's not you, it's me" -- I'm inclined to believe him.