There was no rest for Wisconsin football coach Brett Bielema the morning after his Badgers’ thrilling Big Ten Championship win over Michigan State. By 8 a.m. Sunday he and his assistants were working the phones, hoping to secure a new free agent QB to replace Russell Wilson who will be leaving Madison shortly after Jan. 2’s Rose Bowl appearance.

“The free agent market for QBs next year is going to be tough,” said Bielema. “We’ve got to maintain our tradition of bringing in standout athletes who for all intents and purposes are finished with their collegiate experience but for whatever reason have a season of eligibility and can play anywhere.”

An NCAA loophole lets graduated players with remaining eligibility transfer schools without having to sit out a year before playing again as usually required. It’s how the Badgers acquired the services of Wilson, who left NC State this summer and is having a standout season.

Bielema said his early efforts are focused on Dayne Crist, the Notre Dame quarterback who said he’d be leaving the Irish after graduating this month despite having a year of eligibility left.

“Sure, we’d love to bring Dayne in as another free agent to replace Russel,” said Bielema. “But we’ll have to have discussions with his agent, I mean ‘dad,’ and see if we can outbid Utah, San Diego St. and any other program vying for his services.”