With the news of Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema’s departure for Arkansas coming four weeks before Stanford and Wisconsin meet in the Rose Bowl, here’s a look at how teams in Wisconsin’s situation have done historically. In the history of the Bowl Championship Series, which began during the 1998 college football season, there have been four instances of coaches accepting other coaching jobs before their teams played in the actual BCS game – Randy Edsall’s departure was not officially announced before the Fiesta Bowl, but rumors were rampant leading up to the game.
In the four previous cases where coaches had announced their departure before the game, the teams losing their coaches are 2-2: 1-1 when the coach stayed on for the game and 1-1 when an interim coach took over.
Randy Edsall, Connecticut, 2010 – Edsall left Connecticut for Maryland immediately following a blowout loss to Oklahoma, 48-20, in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl. He is the only one of these five who was not officially named the coach until after the bowl game, but rumors surfaced of him leaving for Maryland well before kickoff.
Brian Kelly, Cincinnati, 2009 – Left Cincinnati for Notre Dame at the end of the 2009 regular season before undefeated Cincinnati played in the 2010 Sugar Bowl against Florida. Florida beat the Bearcats, who were coached by offensive coordinator Jeff Quinn for the game, 51-24.
Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia, 2007 – Left West Virginia for Michigan at the end of the 2007 regular season. Assistant head coach Bill Stewart led the team as interim head coach for the 2008 Fiesta Bowl, when West Virginia upset No. 3 Oklahoma 48-28.
Urban Meyer, Utah, 2004 – Announced after the end of Utah’s 2004 regular season that he was leaving Utah to become Florida’s head coach. Meyer co-head-coached Utah for the 2005 Fiesta Bowl with his replacement, Kyle Whittingham, as the undefeated Utes beat 8-3 Pittsburgh 35-7. Pitt head coach Walt Harris was pushed out after the game and became Stanford’s head coach for two seasons.
Mike Price, 2002, Washington State – Price agreed to become Alabama’s head coach at the end of the 2002 regular season at Washington State. The Cougars, who won the Pac-10 championship, lost 34-14 to Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. Price coached Washington State in the Rose Bowl, though he had already announced his agreement to coach Alabama the following year.