Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda will be heading to LSU to serve as defensive coordinator. Aranda will be paid over $1 million at LSU, earning around triple what Wisconsin was paying him.

LSU consistently rakes in top four and five star recruits, unfazed by somewhat frustrating restrictions at Wisconsin such as high academic standards and limited recruiting spending. While it will remain a controversial and frustrating subject that Aranda was ranked 64th in terms of the highest paid college football assistant coaches, Wisconsin must turn its focus to finding its own next defensive coordinator.

The program and its fans should be thanking Coach Aranda for sustaining a top-5 defensive program the last few years and for remaining loyal at to a fragmented Badger program when Gary Andersen left. Barry Alvarez sould have shown more urgency in holding Aranda off from the competition, but money talks and the Badgers did not have the money to match LSU’s offer.

It’s time to figure out how to deal with arguably Wisconsin’s toughest schedule ever in 2016, which includes, ironically, LSU the first game at Lambeau followed by a Big Ten campaign of Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa, with three out of four away from Camp Randall.

Considering Alvarez and head coach Paul Chryst’s preferences and history, here are some potential, realistic, and even some fun replacements.

1. Todd Orlando

The current defensive coordinator at Houston played linebacker for Barry Alvarez from 1990-94 is friends with Wisconsin offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph, according to multiple sources. In his lone season there, his team this year boasted a 13-1 record 19th in the country, giving up 20.5 pts/game. He has 18 years of coaching experience under his belt, grasping winning culture that Aranda ignited partaking in bowl games. Orlando saw these successes with UConn, Florida International, and Utah State.

2. Tim Tibesar

The current outside linebackers coach is well prepared to take over right away and would not skip a beat with Tibesar’s understanding of Aranda’s patented defense. Prior, he was a defensive coordinator for Kansas State and North Dakota State and most recently at Purdue in 2012; the Boilermakers led the Big 10 in interceptions, forced fumbles, and takeaways that year. He then took became the linebackers coach for the Chicago Bears in 2013.

3. Matt House

Paul Chryst’s defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh, House spent the 2015 season as Florida International’s defensive coordinator. He served as Chryst’s defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014, and had top 35 defenses in the nation both seasons. Reuniting House with Chryst in Madison has not been talked about much, but it wouldn’t take much to pull him from FIU if Chryst and Alvarez wanted him.

Wild Card: Bo Pelini

Why not? The former Nebraska coach from 2008-2014 has tremendous defensive experience having worked for three NFL teams. He is currently the head coach at Youngstown State University. It probably wouldn’t be too difficult to reel him away from the smaller program, though his older brother Carl is his co-DC there. But, still, it’s Bo Pelini, and it would be highly unlikely to see him in Madison.

Extreme Wild Card: Chris Borland

The former 2nd Team All-American, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and anchor Wisconsin linebacker in 2013 ended his NFL career early. This could be an opportunity to bring a young face that understands the Badger tradition and better yet what made Aranda’s 3-4 offense tick. Even though Borland has said he doesn’t want to coach, a big offer like this could sway him.

Image: Fox Sports