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Bret Bielema to Arkansas: Wisconsin coach leaving for SEC

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Arkansas' year-long coaching search will conclude with Bret Bielema, who wants to stick around for the Rose Bowl.

David Purdy

"The card said leave in the middle of your third straight Rose Bowl trip," might be how Bret Bielema explains his move from Wisconsin to Arkansas, if Pat Forde's report is accurate. Forde also reports the announcement will come Tuesday. (UPDATE: The report was indeed accurate: Arkansas made it official with a release Tuesday evening.)

Update: Bruce Feldman confirms, and Mark Schlabach reports Bielema wants to coach the Rose Bowl.

Bielema is 68-24 at Wisconsin, with four 10-win seasons and three Big Ten titles to his name. He was ... absolutely nowhere near the list of reported candidates at any point during the epic Arkansas coaching search. This is quite a surprise, but that's how Jeff Long operates.


Wisconsin fans react || Arkansas fans react

This follows rumors that everyone from Jon Gruden to Mike Gundy was just inches away from being hired. However, Forde is by far the most legitimate name to declare a hire imminent.

Bielema, you'll recall, is the coach who said the Big Ten's programs don't want to be like the SEC's in any way and called out Ohio State's Urban Meyer for stealing recruits. And now he's reportedly going to the SEC West. He'll be fine.

As for Wisconsin, how about those many coordinators who've left Wisconsin for elsewhere? Pitt coach Paul Chryst and new N.C. State coach Dave Doeren have got to be the first names on the Wisconsin fan's list.

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