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Manfull: Bye Bye Bo

BY ERIN MANFULL | DECEMBER 02, 2014 5:00 AM

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In what seemed like a matter of hours after Nebraska pulled of a last-second win over the Hawkeyes, Husker head coach Bo Pelini was fired.

Head coaches have been fired before bowl games in the past, and I’m sure there will be more, but Pelini’s firing is a little bit more controversial. Granted, he’s no Kirk Ferentz in terms of fan admiration, but the guy was 67-27 in his seven years as Nebraska’s head coach. According to ESPN, there are only three teams that have won at least nine games a season since 2008—Nebraska is right up there with Oregon and Alabama, making Pelini’s accomplishments notable. 

Although Nebraska Athletics Director Shawn Eichorst attributed the firing to “not being good enough in the games that mattered,” it’s pretty obvious Nebraska fans aren’t mad about being good enough in seasonal games; rather, they’re mad that they didn’t win THE game, the national championship.

For seven years, Husker fans were convinced Pelini would be their ticket to a national title. And for seven years, they had to settle for the same story, staying idle with decent bowl games and wins, but I guess bowl games and wins aren’t good enough anymore. After years of high expectations and perpetual letdowns, the Huskers seemingly gave up on Pelini when their dreams of national titles still lingered.

Seven years is enough time to get a program moving, I believe that, but with a track record as consistent as Pelini’s, it seems a little insatiable to place the blame on a single individual for plateauing. I guess growing up a Hawkeye fan, I’ve placed my trust in only two men to lead my hometown heroes: Hayden Fry and Kirk Ferentz. Nebraska fans on the other hand, have had three head coaches since 1998 (four in you count interim coach Barney Cotton).

I’ll be the first to admit that my trust in Ferentz sometimes waivers, but players and fans alike will usually support him and his decisions (even if he doesn’t ever go for the fourth-down attempt). There’s something notable about this though: Pelini has a better record than Ferentz (and we all know Iowa hasn’t been a contender for a national title since the reign of Chuck Long), but Ferentz isn’t in the hot seat. Do we place too much emphasis on college athletics, especially football? As fans, we expect to be able to cheer our beloved pigskin-tossing players all the way to some fancy bowl game in much warmer weather — but is firing a coach who has a consistent record, right before the big games, worth it? Let’s see how this one ends up, Big Red.


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