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As the most-tenured active coach in major college football, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz carries the role of dean in his profession, occasionally offering thoughtful comments on newsmaking developments involving the sport.

On Monday in Iowa City, Ferentz filled that role again, giving his thoughts on what happened a day earlier and 175 miles to the northeast.

"Disappointed but not surprised,'' Ferentz told reporters, reacting to Wisconsin firing coach Paul Chryst after the Badgers dropped to 2-3 with a 34-10 home loss to Illinois. "I think it's the fifth one this season, right? The toll has mounted.''

Chryst joined, in order, Nebraska's Scott Frost, Arizona State's Herm Edwards, Georgia Tech's Geoff Collins and Colorado's Karl Dorrell as coaches being shown the door with the season barely a month old. The quintet was a combined 6-15 at the time of their firings, and only the move on Chryst can be considered a surprise.

"Ball kind of got rolling last year,'' Ferentz said. "The one big one I remember was USC the second week of the year, and my question would be: If it's that bad, why didn't you do it a year ago or a half-year ago? But that's the world we're living in right now.''

Those five coaches will receive a combined $53.5 million in buyouts, so money won't be a concern. To Ferentz, though, the trend is troubling.

"Broad-based, though, it's kind of like us picking up two schools from the West Coast into the Big Ten,'' he said. "We're living in different times now, operating in a different world, and we live in a very reactionary world, too, right now. That's obvious.''

In Madison, Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh reacted after the Badgers' second home defeat of the season, and one by 24 points against former Badgers coach Bret Bielema. In his eighth season as Wisconsin's coach, Chryst had a won 72% of his games (67-26) and had guided the Badgers to a Cotton Bowl in 2016, an Orange Bowl in 2017 and a Rose Bowl in 2019.

Recently, though, the Badgers had tailed off. After going 13-1 in 2017, Wisconsin entered the 2018 season ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press preseason Top 25 and looked to be a contender for the College Football Playoff. Instead, the Badgers slumped to 8-5, including their first loss to the Gophers since 2003. A 10-4 season with a Rose Bowl loss followed in 2019, before a 4-3 COVID-shortened season in 2020 and last year's 9-4 finish.

Wisconsin's bowl trips the past two seasons were to the Duke's Mayo Bowl and the Las Vegas Bowl. That's not up to the standard that Barry Alvarez set, and Chryst took the fall.

The Badgers had a ready-made interim replacement for Chryst on staff in defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard. The 39-year-old former Wisconsin defensive back has succeeded in every role he's had with the Badgers, and his stock was rising as a potential head coach. Leonhard's defenses ranked in the top five nationally in total defense four times from 2017 to 2021. He'll get the rest of the season as an audition for the permanent job.

Should McIntosh decide Leonhard isn't right for the job, a strong candidate could be Kansas coach Lance Leipold, a Jefferson, Wis., native who went 109-6 with six NCAA Division III championships at Wisconsin-Whitewater. Nebraska also figures to be in the mix for Leipold, who has the Jayhawks off to a 5-0 start and No. 19 ranking.

Whatever ends up happening at Wisconsin, this week's developments had Ferentz thinking philosophically about the sport.

"We live in a changing world,'' he said. "We all know that, and you've got to change with the times.''