Once Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Bo Pelini‘s name came up as a potential candidate to replace Gene Chizik’s spot with the Auburn Tigers or John L. Smith‘s with the Arkansas Razorbacks, many Husker fans became hopping mad.
Such feelings were obvious in a large Facebook group dedicated to love for Nebraska football. “Pelini is not going anywhere!!,” shouted Joshua Daniel Zogg. “They need to leave Bo the **** alone. …he is movin [sic] us forward and WILL GET US THERE!!! KEEP THE FAITH HUSKER NATION!!!!,” declared Misty Barnes-Richards.
Pelini’s having a successful season thus far. He appears to have the Huskers on the right track with potential Big Ten Championship Game and Rose Bowl appearances to end the year. Let’s be honest though, his agent’s job is to make his client money, but if Pelini’s smart, he’ll stay put for the time being. It will only bring him prosperity in the end one way or another.
For the remainder of the 2012 season, Nebraska faces the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Iowa Hawkeyes, the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship game and if the Huskers win that game, they could cap the season with a 12-2 record and BCS bowl win. This means not only would Pelini have gotten the Big Red its first conference title since 1999 (visual evidence of which will be slapped on Memorial Stadium), but he’ll have taken Nebraska to a BCS bowl for the first time in 11 years and won.
Admittedly, there are some glaring errors in his program. Offensive line coach Barney Cotton has yet to churn out a mostly error-free unit in his five years under Pelini. Frankly, he has to go regardless of how many of his kids are on scholarship.
There have been rumors of running backs coach Ron Brown stepping down to focus on his ministry work, but this has been the case for several years. What’s vital for Nebraska’s continued upward trend is to bring in a legitimate quarterbacks coach to aid offensive coordinator Tim Beck and should Brown and Cotton move on, three ace recruiters in total.
The Huskers’ recent recruiting hauls were not bad, but they could’ve been better. That’s a prime component required to win against Urban Meyer and other Big Ten heavyweights on a regular basis on and off the field.
During the past two seasons, Nebraska has received a rude welcome to their new in conference via hellacious schedules. In 2013, it faces two conference punching bags in the Illinois Fighting Illini and Purdue Boilermakers. Its most difficult non-conference bout is with the UCLA Bruins that trips to Lincoln.
In other words, the Huskers’ path to the Big Ten Championship Game and another BCS game is very manageable. If Pelini takes full advantage of a team with an adequate amount of talent, he’ll have two conference championships and BCS appearances (if not wins) under his belt. Suddenly, his stock’s going through the roof.
Finally, in 2014, the non-conference slate features the Miami Hurricanes in Lincoln, but Nebraska’s conference slate still “boasts” Purdue and Illinois. Assuming the Huskers find their way to the conference title game yet again, they’ll likely face the then-eligible Ohio State Buckeyes. At this point, if recruiting has improved, Nebraska should be able to go toe to toe with Meyer’s squad. Even if the Huskers lose, Pelini will have been on such a hot streak, he’ll be given a mulligan.
At that point, if Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst hasn’t ponied up big money and an extension, let the bidding begin.
This all becomes moot if Pelini actually does want to head back to the SEC and would do so for the right amount of cash. Individuals close to the Arkansas program have mentioned that the boosters will gladly reach deep into their pocket books for the right guy and Auburn’s bringing in plenty of talent that Pelini could work with despite this year’s embarrassing record. Will he leave Lincoln? Unlikely, because honestly, he’d be a fool to go.
Brandon Cavanaugh is a college football columnist for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter and join in on the conversation.