Could Friday be Bo Pelini’s final game coaching Nebraska?
A loss in Lincoln to Iowa would drop Nebraska to 8-4, which would equal the Huskers’ worst regular-season record since Pelini took over in 2008. A win over Iowa would mean Nebraska could win its 10th game in a bowl, giving Pelini his fourth 10-win season in six seasons.
“I’m not coaching to save my job or anything,” Pelini said, via the Omaha World-Herald. “At the end of the day, I want to be here. I want to be here if they want me here. If they don’t, if somebody doesn’t want me here — and I’m not saying (Athletic director) Shawn (Eichorst) does, doesn’t, whatever — if they don’t want me here, I’ll move on. I’ll go on my way.”
Pelini hasn’t brought Nebraska to the levels of success the program enjoyed under Tom Osborne, but he’s won 56 games in six seasons — more than the Huskers won from 2001-2007.
The other side of the argument: Pelini hasn’t won a meaningful game this year (double-digit losses to UCLA, Minnesota and Michigan State). His defense gave up 63 points to Ohio State and 70 to Wisconsin last year. Nebraska has lost every conference championship game in which it’s played in his tenure.
Basically, if Pelini and Nebraska are being held to the same standard set by Osborned in the 1990s, he doesn’t cut it. But for where Nebraska is as a program in college football’s current landscape, he’s set a good mark of success in Lincoln.
Of course, there was the whole secretly-recorded rant flap earlier this year and a few darts thrown his way by Nebraska legend Tommy Frazier.
Regardless of what happens against Iowa, a chance for some real embarrassment could be looming in a bowl game. A few projections (ESPN, SI) have Nebraska playing Big 12/8 rival Missouri in the Outback Bowl. The battle for the Missouri-Nebraska Bell has been long-dominated by Nebraska, but given the Huskers’ defensive woes and the high-powered Tigers’ offense, a blowout loss to a historic doormat could be the last straw for Pelini.