What’s Life After Bo Pelini Going to Be Like in Lincoln?
It's not how much you win, it's who you beat. That's the message, loud and clear, from University of Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst to now ex-Huskers football coach Bo Pelini.
Sunday, Eichorst lowered the boom on Pelini, despite seven straight nine-or-10-win seasons and a 67-27 overall record; the most wins for any college football coach over that time.
But it wasn't the overall record that was the problem.
For a fan base that (realistically or not) expects to be competing for National Championships on a regular basis, these were the numbers that were the most telling about the current state of Nebraska football under Bo Pelini the last seven years:
- 8-17 vs. AP-ranked teams (3-9 on road)
- No BCS Bowl appearances (3-3 overall in bowls)
- No conference titles (lost in 2012 Big Ten title game, 70-31)
- 3-4 in last seven November games
- 10 losses by 20 points or more since 2008
- 45 or more points allowed in six games since joining the Big Ten in 2011
Win number 67 of the Bo Pelini era came last Friday at Iowa, a dramatic 37-37 overtime win, in a game which saw the Huskers rally from 17 points down in the second half.
That victory pushed Nebraska's 2014 record to 9-3 on the year, and I asked 'The Voice of the Cornhuskers', Greg Sharpe, if he thought after that game that Pelini had coached his final game with Nebraska:
Reaction coming out of Lincoln was all over the place, with the players angrily firing off a series of tweets after being informed of the decision in an e-mail from Eichorst.
As for Nebraska fans, several applauded the move, while others wondered out loud about whether there was actually a better coach available.
Still others wondered whether a series of nine and ten win seasons were enough for this program year in and year out.
I asked Greg about that sentiment:
Aside from the wins and losses, it was a very volatile seven years for Pelini in Lincoln, as the coach's fiery personality rubbed officials, the media, and even some fans the wrong way at times.
I asked Greg if Pelini was misunderstood, and whether his disposition contributed to his dismissal:
So now the task of picking a replacement falls on Eichorst's shoulders, and already there are a number of names being tossed about as the next coach in Lincoln.
Heading that list is former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost, now the offensive coordinator at Oregon.
I asked Greg about the kind of coach Nebraska needs to hire going forward:
As it stands now, tight ends coach Barney Cotton is the interim head coach at Nebraska, and will likely lead the Huskers into their bowl appearance later this month or New Year's Day. That assignment will be announced Sunday.
What's beyond that? I asked Greg about the current big picture for this program.