Jaime Valdez-US PRESSWIRE
Mike Riley is being pursued by the Wisconsin Badgers. But don't expect him to leave Oregon State.
The Wisconsin Badgers are trying to find someone who can step in and ensure maximum production in the Big Ten. Who will it be?
Apparently Mike Riley is on the board. No, really?
Yes, really, it seems like something is stirring here. By stirring, I mean Leer jets to Corvallis what the heck?
The thing worth noting here is the plane is in transit from Waukesha to Corvallis, so it looks as if Wisconsin is going to have to do most of the courting here. And I expect sometime today we will see Riley reject whatever offer the Badgers throw at him and return to work for the Alamo Bowl.
Let us point one of the many things about Riley. He turned down the USC opening. HE TURNED IT DOWN. It was right there for him to have if we wanted it when Pete Carroll vacated his offices and decided to win forever in Seattle. And he said "noooooope." Then he went back and secured a deal that kept him in Oregon State until 2019. Doesn't really sound like a guy who's interested in moving around. At 59 years old he seems like a man closer to the end of his run than nearer the start.
If anything is happening here, perhaps Riley's agent just told the head coach to try out the meeting so he could leverage a further contract extension. That way, Riley is essentially the equivalent of a Supreme Court justice up in Corvallis, and he won't have to worry about looking for another job until a point where he's quite ready for retirement.
It seems a bit extreme, but Oregon State has been unbelievably successful in a conference that should have passed the Beavers by awhile ago. Thanks to Riley's coaching and an impressive staff that remains among one of the top in the conference, they have found recruiting leftovers from the big schools and cobbled them into a cohesive whole that can beat almost any team in the conference not named Oregon.
Riley has done so many good things in Corvallis and has such a solid foundation here that he would never have at Madison. The results he produces in Oregon State would probably not fly in Wisconsin, who would have probably dumped him after his recent downturn. Jettisoning the security of his extensive contract also doesn't seem very smart either; Wisconsin is on the verge of their third Rose Bowl. The expectations would be much higher, and it just doesn't seem to make much sense for him to let that all go when he has the foundation to build a Pac-12 championship caliber squad next year.
So I feel pretty comfortable in saying Riley will be back at it in 2013 on the Oregon State sideline, quite ready to outcoach the majority of opponents that come his way.