First impressions, second thoughts and the third degree:

It will be tempting for some to take issue with the pay raises forthcoming for University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst.

The UW Board of Regents is expected to approve their new deals at its meeting later this week. After guiding the Badgers to a share of the Big Ten Conference title and a berth in the Rose Bowl, Bielema’s total compensation will go from $1.7 million to the neighborhood of $2.5 million, while Chryst’s compensation package will get bumped from $305,000 to more than $400,000.

Those look like good investments in good coaches who have proven their worth during their time with the Badgers. Bielema will remain in the second tier of coaching compensation in the Big Ten — behind Jim Tressel of Ohio State and Kirk Ferentz of Iowa, who are just under $4 million — even though he’s 49-16 in five seasons. Chryst, meanwhile, is a highly sought-after talent who reportedly turned down an offer from Texas that was more than twice his new salary from UW.

Besides, isn’t it better to be underwriting smart personnel decisions than to be throwing money away on big mistakes?

Look at Notre Dame, which shelled out $18 million to rid itself of underachieving football coach Charlie Weis in 2009.

Look at Maryland, which spent $2 million to buy out the contract of fired football coach Ralph Friedgen after last season.

Look at Michigan, which paid West Virginia $2.5 million to buy out the contract of football coach Rich Rodriguez, then canned Rodriguez after last season to the tune of another $2.5 million buyout.

Look at Minnesota, which spent $2.2 million to buy out fired football coach Glen Mason in 2006, then doled out $775,000 to his failed successor, Tim Brewster.

How much public heat would UW athletic director Barry Alvarez feel if he made similar investment errors? The only thing worse would be major NCAA violations on his watch.

I TOLD YOU SO: It wouldn’t be very classy, but if Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson took a moment to gloat in public, not a soul in Wisconsin could blame him.

He was right about Mike McCarthy. He was right about Aaron Rodgers. He was right about Brett Favre. He was right about Randy Moss. He was right about building the Packers through the NFL draft and not relying on free agency. He was the right man for the job.

Thompson took a ridiculous amount of grief en route to building a Super Bowl champion that’s in position to become an enduring force. While an I-told-you-so speech would be out of character for him, it just might be cathartic.

YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT: The only thing more inexcusable than the NFL failing to make sure 400 ticketed temporary seats at the Super Bowl were secure is how it’s handling the mess.

Those left out in the cold by a fire marshal’s decision — literally and figuratively — are being offered refunds three times the price of their ticket.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday that those displaced can also attend next year’s Super Bowl as guests of the league, but what if you have no interest in being there if your team isn’t in it?

The fans in question should hold out for more. At the very least they should also be reimbursed for their travel and lodging.

Contact Andy Baggot at or 608‑252‑6175.

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