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There's 1 Clear Favorite For Wisconsin's Next Head Coach

A closeup of a Wisconsin Badgers football helmet.

PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 16: Wisconsin Badgers football helmet during the game between the Badgers and the BYU Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

Wisconsin stunned the college football world Sunday night when it fired head coach Paul Chryst after seven-plus seasons.

Chryst produced four seasons of 10 or more wins and three New Year's Six bowl appearances in his first five years, but failed to duplicate that success from 2020 until now. 

Wisconsin has been one of the more consistent programs in college football for much of the last three decades, so there's no doubt the Badgers should attract plenty of qualified candidates. 

If they choose to go with a familiar name, however, one stands out: Jim Leonhard, who is now the interim head coach. Leonhard was an All-American defensive back for the Badgers before embarking on a long NFL career.

Since 2016, he's been an assistant at his alma mater and has run the Wisconsin defense since 2017. Now that Leonard is getting the interim opportunity, it's not a surprise that some are speculating it could become his gig full-time.

If Leonhard doesn't eventually become the permanent head coach, former Wisconsin defensive coordinators-turned Power 5 head coaches Dave Aranda and Justin Wilcox could get looks.

It wouldn't hurt the Badgers to inquire about Lance Leipold at Kansas either.