The Wisconsin Badgers have gone through a decidedly disappointing 2022 football season. Including the parting of ways with head coach and favorite son Paul Chryst. Who had not long ago led the team to Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl championships.

Jim Leonhard, another native Wisconsinite and alum of the program, succeeded Chryst on an interim basis. It was widely expected that Leonhard would eventually be retained on a permanent basis as head coach. If not him, somebody else with strong ties to the program. But instead, the job has gone to somebody whose historic ties are with one of the Badgers' rivals.

Luke Fickell chosen as the new head football coach

Luke Fickell is now the new head coach of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's football team. He has departed from the University of Cincinnati, where he'd held the same position for several years.

Fickell is not a veteran of Wisconsin's program, but of Big Ten rival Ohio State. He was, in fact, born and raised in Columbus. There, he played at St. Francis DeSales High School, where he was also a state champion wrestler. Afterward, he joined the Ohio State Buckeyes as a nose guard.

While playing for the Buckeyes, the team won two Big Ten co-championships and a Rose Bowl championship. Fickell later spent a brief time in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints.

But his time as a player was cut short by injury.

Luke Fickell began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant with his alma mater. After a brief stay as the defensive line coach for the University of Akron, he returned again to Ohio State. Fickell would remain there for a decade and a half's worth of football. Initially as special teams coordinator, followed by linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator.

In 2011, Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressell resigned amid scandal. Fickell was named as the interim head coach for that season. Afterward, Urban Meyer was hired as the permanent head coach, but Fickell stayed on as an assistant.

Fickell's time as an assistant coach for the Ohio State Buckeyes would include many successes. Including two national championships, four outright Big Ten championships and three co-championships.

Also including wins at four Fiesta Bowls, two Sugar Bowls and a Rose Bowl.

Led Cincinnati to a historic season

From there, Luke Fickell became the head coach for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Leading them to two conference championships and an appearance in the 2021 College Football Playoff. Fickell was named coach of the year by several outlets.

The Bearcats being selected for the CFP was a historic moment. It was the first time a team from a non-Power 5 conference, such as the Big Ten, made the cut. The program is gearing up to join another Power 5 conference in the Big 12.

Special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs is to serve as interim head coach for Cincinnati's bowl game. Yahoo reports that Coombs is also a top candidate for the job on a full-time basis.

Questions remain surrounding Jim Leonhard

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Leonhard will probably serve as the Badgers' head coach for their bowl game. But beyond that, things are less clear. There is a certain irony in his position now, given Luke Fickell's history.

Fickell stayed on as an assistant as an interim stint as the team's head coach. He has indicated that he has a keen interest in having Jim Leonhard stay in a similar fashion. Leonhard has been considered as one of the best defensive coordinators in the country. He also drew considerable attention for other head coaching vacancies.

But Leonhard's brief tenure as head coach was decidedly mixed. Potential bowl game notwithstanding, he would earn an even number for wins and losses.

But making it worse is that he would lose to both of arguably the Badgers' biggest rivals. Those being the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Iowa Hawkeyes.

If Jim Leonhard does not stay with the Badgers, one possible landing spot could be nearby. The Green Bay Packers of the NFL had previously offered him their defensive coordinator position. The Packers have also thus far had a considerably sub-par season. A number of openings could be coming on the team's staff. Speculation has already begun that they could try calling up Leonhard again.