As will the Badgers.
Bielema's departure was a shock, coming just three days after Wisconsin earned a school-record third straight trip to the Rose Bowl with a 70-31 rout of Nebraska in the Big Ten championship. The coach even told players at a Monday night meeting not to believe rumors he was going somewhere, quarterback Curt Phillips said.
Once Bielema left, there was no question who the Badgers wanted as their interim coach.
"Looking forward to being coached by one of the greatest of all time In my last game as a badger! Let's go get em!" running back Montee Ball said on Twitter.
Alvarez has been something of a coach emeritus the last seven years. Bielema was his hand-picked successor, and he stuck close to the framework Alvarez had established. Alvarez attended most practices, and often helped to woo recruits.
"When anyone around this program simply says 'coach', you know who they're talking about," Chris Borland tweeted.
So for him to step back in for the Rose Bowl will mean very little change for the Badgers. Alvarez said he will oversee practices and manage the game, allowing the coordinators to focus on game planning against the Cardinal.
The assistants have told players they are committed to Wisconsin through the Rose Bowl.
"I think this is probably the best," Alvarez said. "I felt this was the best way to go about it and give the players the best opportunity" to win.
And, make no mistake, the Badgers intend to keep Alvarez's perfect Rose Bowl record intact.
More than a few people have said the Badgers have no business being in the Rose Bowl at 8-5. Wisconsin actually finished third in the Big Ten's Leaders Division, but Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible for the postseason because of NCAA sanctions.
But Alvarez said Wisconsin has nothing to apologize for.
"I told (the players) I would be honored to coach them," Alvarez said. "But I wanted them to understand, if I was going to coach them, we weren't going to screw around. We were going to go out there to win."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.