Badgers a surprise playoff contender 

May, 15, 2014
May 15
12:45
PM ET
Gary AndersonJoe Robbins/Getty ImagesGary Andersen's Wisconsin Badgers open the season with a huge matchup against LSU.
MADISON, Wis. -- College coaching fits are mostly straightforward. You know, a coach went to the school at which he now works, or he at least has ties to the area that will pay recruiting dividends or make the fan base feel as if he’s one of them.

Gary Andersen, who has been here in Wisconsin’s capital city for a little more than a year, is originally from Salt Lake City and arrived here via Utah State. And yet, after a conversation in his office and a general evaluation of his philosophies and priorities, you’d swear he had Badger blood.

In short, Andersen wants his program to be centered on running the ball, playing defense and graduating players. So it’s no wonder that athletic director Barry Alvarez, a longtime UW coach who has a statue outside Camp Randall, saw quickly that Andersen was his guy when Bret Bielema bolted for Arkansas. Continuity, it turns out, came in the form of a coach thousands of miles away.