It's always tough to know who's names are smokescreens and who's names aren't, but according to CBSSports.com's Jeremy Fowler the Badgers will be interviewing a familiar name to Badger fans, Oregon State's Mike Riley. According to the report Riley is expected to interview with Wisconsin yet this week.
Of course it wouldn't be a coaching search without a quick denial of reports either & within minutes of the CBSSports.com report this came down from an OSU beat reporter:
Oregon State fans need to take a deep breath. Sources telling me reports about Riley interviewing at Wisconsin are false. Stay tuned.— Lindsay Schnell (@LindsayRae19) December 14, 2012
and that was quickly followed up by a report quoting OSU's AD:
Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis says he has heard nothing about Riley interviewing for Wisconsin job.— Lindsay Schnell (@LindsayRae19) December 14, 2012
..... more after the jump .....
Riley has a history of facing off with the Badgers across the field and has a huge connection to former Badgers offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, whom he coached with both in the NFL and at Oregon State. He led the Beavers to one of the most shocking turnarounds of any team in a major conference this season, going from 2-10 last year to 9-3 this season and playing in the Alamo Bowl to finish off this year.
Overall Riley is 73-52 at the west coast OSU from 2003 to the present, which is his 2nd stint at the helm of the Beavers. Clearly he understands Wisconsin's offensive philosophies, but you also have to wonder about a guy who's spent his entire career coaching on the West Coast and if he'd make the move that far away from what's become his home.
Considering what Oregon State did to Wisconsin in Corvallis this year it's hard to blame Barry for at least taking a look to see if he'd be interested in the position, but again this could be another game in the PR department as well. Riley's name has surfaced as a candidate over the past week or so in some rumorvilles and as we are all learning where there's some smoke there's some fire as well.
Riley could've talked to the Badgers informally and is looking for a pay raise from his current $1.5 million salary, or he could be an actual interview candidate, you be the judge on this one.