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Paul Chryst to Wisconsin (this time)?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

So, let's see - Nebraska? Nah. Michigan? Not quite.

How about Wisconsin?

And, hey lookit, more national media pointing to Chryst. Surprise, surprise ...

One thing is certain - Chryst may be the most speculated 19-19 coach for the most high-profile jobs in the history of college football.

Before we get too far down the rabbit hole, boys and girls, first things first. Andersen is leaving Wisconsin for Oregon State? Wut? Doesn't pass the sniff test to me, either, but ESPN's Big Ten guy, Adam Rittenberg, has the scoop - or at least part of it:

Alright, so the Paul Chryst stuff. As I said when Chryst's name was dropped by some national media for the Nebraska and Michigan jobs, none of that seemed to make much sense. Chryst to Wisconsin, however, does, obviously, since he was an assistant there and it's his alma mater. He was born in the state and is a 'Wisconsin guy.'

The first thing everyone should realize is that there's a really good chance Chryst was interested in the job the first time around when it became open after Bret Bielema's departure. As soon as his name was being floated for the Wisconsin gig a couple of years ago, there was silence for a couple of days - not hours, days. I hate to keep repeating myself, but if he truly wasn't interested in the job, there was no reason a denial wouldn't/couldn't have come sooner.

Same with this - if Chryst really wanted to get the word out, he could do so and the athletics department would have a press release about him staying out quicker than I finish this post. If nothing else, he's just trying to let it soak in right now before formulating a game plan on coming up with a decision.

And here's the thing - there's nothing wrong with that. If you're at a job (even one that you enjoy) and a job in what could be your dream location opens up, almost all of you would at least listen. I don't take umbrage with Chryst wanting to listen if his phone rings. But the idea that he's not interested at all would be kind of far-fetched if a statement isn't released for a couple of days.

Keep this in mind - the timing was horribly off the last time since he had only been at Pitt for a year. But with Chryst being around for an (admittedly too short) three years this time around, it's at least a little better. Chryst, of course, hasn't accomplished his mission of turning the program around, or even, according to some, even getting it far enough in the right direction. But consider this ...

Wisconsin surely is getting tired of this coaching carousel thing and would no doubt like to settle on someone who's in it to win it for the long haul. Andersen was around only two years and Bielema, a more reasonable but not terribly long, seven, before him. Chryst, who still had family and a cottage in the area the last time this happened, would seem to fit that bill.

The key, too, outside of all the ties to the area/school, is his age. At 49, he's the kind of coach that can settle in somewhere and, assuming he has some degree of success, could coach for 15 years. That has to be appealing to schools in general and, particularly Wisconsin, where things just seem like they would fall into place.

And while we've talked about an extension for Chryst, if Pitt has its ducks in a row and is confident he's their guy, that will probably happen sooner rather than later.

So, ultimately, what happens in the immediate future?

One issue at hand here is that Pitt is preparing for a bowl game. If the Panthers' season was over and Chryst could kind of tuck himself away into obscurity to collect his thoughts, that'd be one thing. But even with the game several weeks away, he's going to be gearing up for practices with the team after exams this week and won't be able to hide for long.

I've got little doubt Chryst was interested the first time around and I've got even less doubt that he's going to be interested this time. If not, a simple, quick denial will do - but I'm not holding my breath. And even if one does come, I'll need to see the vacancy filled before I believe it.

He's in a difficult position here - does he come out and state that he's not interested, even if he may be? Or does he wait it out, not comment, and leave everyone speculating?

So now, we play the waiting game again. Paul, you're on the clock.

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