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Gary Andersen surprisingly tabbed as Oregon State head coach

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The Oregon State hire ended up having a Utah tie, just not one anyone discussed.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest external threat to a departure from Bronco Mendenhall seems to have been eliminated.

In a just as big of a surprise as Mike Riley leaving for Nebraska, Oregon State named sitting Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen as the next head coach of the Beavers on Wednesday. Andersen replaces Riley after his 14 total seasons at the helm in Corvallis.

Shortly after reports game from the Portland Tribune and The Oregonian, both schools confirmed the move on Twitter.

Bronco Mendenhall landed as a no-brainer on Oregon State's list of potential replacements as an alum and former team captain from 1987. Mendenhall also had excellent rapport with Riley, so if any recommendations were accepted by OSU brass, he very likely was one of them.

As recently as yesterday, it was reported that Mendenhall was one of four candidates contacted by phone about the opening.

Mendenhall is completing his 10th season at BYU, coaching to a record of 90-38 and 6-3 in bowl games, with this season's Miami Beach Bowl forthcoming.

Andersen has coached at Wisconsin for two seasons (19-7) and departs after a beatdown at the hands of Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game. Previously, Andersen resurrected Utah State's program, going 26-24 over four seasons, including an 11-2 campaign in 2012 that landed the Aggies an AP #16 postseason rank.

One possible impact involving BYU might involve Jordan's 2015 QB Austin Kafentzis, who committed to Wisconsin in large part on Andersen's efforts. Kafentzis set Utah state records this past season when accounting for 694 yards and 10 touchdowns in a game against Brighton.

BYU was the first school to offer Kafentzis, way back when he was a sophomore. Could BYU get back in the mix?

Note: sports-reference.com was used in preparing this article