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Thursday Morning Brews (12/11/14)

More coaching changes in the Big Ten West.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

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News came down yesterday that Gary Andersen is leaving Wisconsin for Oregon State. The OSU job, which was open because Nebraska chose to pursue Mike Riley, had been the subject of some wild speculation in the past week before it ended up in the hands of someone nobody thought possible. Badgers fans are left scratching their heads while they prepare for Nick Marshall and Auburn, and Beavers fans are rejoicing what looks right now like a coaching upgrade.

You might say this all started from a simple, innocuous struggle: the Cornhuskers' ability to recruit from the heartland. Programs like Iowa and KSU thrive on combing through the sea of red chips and finding gold. Even Nebraska has gotten some mileage out of its walk-on program. But against elite teams, that lack of explosive depth got exposed. Anyone with the athleticism of, say, Leonte Carroo could take the top off.

Rather than re-emphasize recruiting, taking full advantage of the social media advantages of Faux Pelini, and putting its support behind a coach the players loved, Nebraska's athletic department threw the program into upheaval and ousted Pelini right when he had a better recruiting class on the way in 2015. They did so for Mike Riley, whose expertise is in building up red-chip recruits - something Pelini already did really well. In the talk about how 9-win seasons are unacceptable, NU forgot how to do the little things to get there. Now, it's a clean slate for NU, and a bare seat at UW.

Perhaps Wisconsin makes the most of this and hires a great candidate. There are interesting options, from Pat Narduzzi to Kyle Whittingham to some others. But it's getting difficult to find a safe and successful hire, and the conference has now lost two of its better coaches.

Hitting the Links Is Never Satisfied

Mike Weber

Very angry.

Pillow Fight

Feel better now.

For Alabama, The Same Old Dance

It isn't just Amari Cooper. DeAndrew White and O.J. Howard are terrifically athletic, and Christion Jones is no slouch. Ohio State might actually be able to bottle up Alabama's run game, but this is where OSU's youth in that secondary might be exposed. O.J. Howard is also a great trap for OSU's blitzing demon Darron Lee; just his presence helps nullify some of that pressure.

Clemson QB Deshaun Watson to Miss Bowl

The Tigers will face off with Oklahoma in one of the more exciting bowl matchups, but they'll do it without their freshman phenom. Meanwhile, Samaje Perine will try to make a dent against that Clemson front seven led by Vic Beasley.

Rivals250 for 2016 Released

There are 64 players on this list who are committed. Of those elite, committed athletes, 48 are to schools south of (and not even including) Kentucky. Of the other 16, twelve are Big Ten commits. The other four are committed to Notre Dame, two to Oregon, and Washington. The number of athletes who are from north of the Kentucky-Tennessee border is also 16.

Also, of the 48 committed to southern schools, only 27 are to the SEC. Things are changing.

For LSU-ND Bowl, Quarterback Issues Abound

Here was a biting quote from Brian Kelly after he pulled Everett Golson from the 49-14 shellacking to USC: "There's a way I want that position to operate, and it's going to operate the way that I want it to operate. If you operate it the way that I want it done, you'll be the starting quarterback at Notre Dame."

Andy Staples Mailbag

There are some good questions here about Arkansas-Texas, Mississippi State jumping Michigan State, and UAB.

For the Big 12, Now What?

Staples also runs through the Big 12's options, the most important being changing their non-conference scheduling.

Motivation Lacking for Miami vs. South Carolina

Miami went 6-6 this year, but Duke Johnson (one of three running backs to get 1,500 yards and 7.0 ypc, along with Melvin Gordon and Tevin Coleman) was incredible and QB Brad Kaaya (2,962 yards, 25/11 TD ratio) did not play like a freshman. They even held opponents to 24.3 points a game, good enough for a top-50 defense. Their downfall was in easy-to-overlook fundamentals like penalties, takeaways, special teams, and the defensive line/third downs.

Leonte Carroo & Respect

The junior will decide about entering the NFL Draft after his team's bowl game, but it'd be a shame to see him go. He's been one of the more overlooked talents in the Big Ten.

Also, fun fact: Michigan and Rutgers are the two oldest football programs in FBS.

Nominees for CFB's Play of the Year

The Arkansas touchdown was one of the strangest plays I've seen. What's the success rate on an offensive lineman throwing to the snapper?

Replacing David Beaty

Kevin Sumlin has his work cut out to find a new defensive coordinator at Texas A&M, but also to fill the vacancy left by his recruiting coordinator and new Kansas football coach, David Beaty. When Beaty was hired, he talked about the need to develop KU's walk-on program, a la Kansas State, and create an exciting and playmaking team on both sides. "Kansas feels like home," he said after the hire. "We will sacrifice everything, including sleep, to bring you a program you are proud of."

FSU's Nick O'Leary Wins John Mackey Award

The award to the best tight end in the nation goes to O'Leary over Maxx Williams.

Unanswered Questions in Madison

I feel like I've been saying this too much, but you just have to roll with the punches and pick yourself up. The Big Ten needed to start thinking big when it came to coaches, and the vacancies at Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska shoud help change the conversation the next time Purdue or Illinois are looking around. So, there are positives.