Wisconsin Football: Bret Bielema Is the Best Coach in the Big Ten

Nick HartCorrespondent ISeptember 4, 2012

Wisconsin Football: Bret Bielema Is the Best Coach in the Big Ten

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    Bret Bielema is the best coach in the Big Ten.  

    Ever since his start as the Badgers head coach in 2006, Bielema has taken the conference by storm. He's set numerous Wisconsin and Big Ten records, and is poised to reach even greater heights in 2012.

Head Coaching Record

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    Since Bielema took over for Barry Alvarez in 2006, he has amassed a career record of 61-19.

    He also has six bowl appearances in six seasons, including two Rose Bowl appearances.

    He's won two Big Ten titles, and has finished in the final AP Top 25 poll five times. He also has finished with nine or more wins in five of his six seasons. He has never had a losing record.  

Records

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    As the Wisconsin Badgers head football coach, Bielema has already set numerous Big Ten conference and Wisconsin records.  

    He was the first and only coach to win 11 or more games as Wisconsin head coach, doing so in 2006, 2010, and 2011. By winning 12 games during the 2006 season, the 42-year-old became the third coach in NCAA history to win 12 games in his rookie season.  

    Additionally, he became the first head coach in Big Ten history to win 10 games in his rookie season.  

    Bielema also has the second best start for a head coach in Big Ten history, going 17-1 in his first 18 games, trailing only Fielding Yost's 55-0-1 start from 1901-1905.  

    Incredibly, Bielema already ranks third on the Badgers all-time wins list.  

    On a national level, Bielema owns the fourth-best career winning percentage among active FBS coaches, and has the ninth best record in the country over the last six seasons.

    He has also been a finalist for the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year award in 2006, 2010, and 2011. 

Competition

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    Bielema thoroughly outclasses Tim Beckman, Kevin Wilson, Brady Hoke, Jerry Kill, Bo Pelini, Pat Fitzgerald, Bill O'Brien, and Danny Hope.

    While Mark Dantonio and Kirk Ferentz also have impressive resumes, but neither can equal Bielema's.  

    Dantonio does have Michigan State rolling now, but he hasn't had the sustained success that Bielema has had.  

    Ferentz is in a similar situation having sustained early success at Iowa in the 2000's, but has drastically fallen off the map.  His Iowa teams are routinely posting mediocre seasons.

    Urban Meyer is the only competition to the Wisconsin head coach.  And he does have an impressive resume—more impressive than Bielema's considering the National Championships.  

    However, Meyer has only coached one game in the Big Ten, and is coming off time away from coaching.  

    Additionally, he has notoriously signed a contract that will limit his involvement with the OSU football program, and it has yet to be seen as to how that will affect the team.  

    Meyer certainly could claim this throne shortly, but until he produces in the Big Ten, Bielema is still the king.

Conclusion

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    Bret Bielema has pretty much done it all at Wisconsin. He's won Big Ten titles, appeared in BCS bowls, and set conference records. His resume already places him among the greats at both Wisconsin and in Big Ten history.  

    If Bielema continues on his current trajectory, he will go down among the Big Ten's all time greats of Woody, Bo, Barry, and "JoePa".