Bo Pelini was so fired up during Nebraska's game against Iowa that he drew a personal foul penalty after a pass interference call. After the game, one which the Huskers lost 38-17, Pelini was, uh, quite candid about speculation surrounding his future as the Nebraska football coach.
"If they want to fire me, go ahead," Pelini said after the game. "I believe in what I've done, I don't apologize for what I've done. I don't apologize to you, I don't apologize to anybody; myself or this staff. My record, our record, since I've been here speaks for itself."
That record is now 56-24 in Pelini's six years as Nebraska's head coach. With the loss Friday, that's exactly four losses in each season. That's not a career record to scoff at by any means -- but is it good enough at Nebraska?
We do know this though, it's never a good idea to make that sort of an invitation to your superiors amidst questions about your future in your current position.
After a home loss to UCLA in September, audio was released of Pelini ranting about Nebraska fans after a game in 2011 in which the Huskers had come back to beat Ohio State. In the audio, Pelini had some choice words not only for members of the media, but for the fans who left before the comeback started. Nebraska stood by Pelini after the video's release and his subsequent apology (so he did apologize for something), likely seeing the ridiculous timing of a two-year old video's public leaking. However, that tape only poured gasoline on the talk of Pelini's status as Nebraska coach. Speculation that Pelini said Friday hurt his team.
When such speculation is being bandied about by a team's fanbase, it's the head coach's responsibility to keep his team focused away from those distractions. If that didn't happen, either Pelini didn't handle that responsibility well or his status really is tenuous within the Nebraska athletic department. Neither is a good sign, though receiver Kenny Bell was strong in his support of Pelini.
Kenny Bell with quote of the year: "I would play for Bo Pelini against Satan himself and a team of demons at the gates of the underworld."
— Robin Washut (@RobinWashut) November 29, 2013
All the frustration of the 8-4 season could be encapsulated in Pelini's personal foul. After Nebraska was called for pass interference, Pelini was livid, demanding that the ball thrown out of bounds on the other side of the field was uncatchable. When the call didn't go his way, he swung his hat near the face of the linesman on his sideline, drawing the penalty. And that call was another thing he didn't mince words about after the game.
With Nebraska's season complete, Pelini's future was going to be a hot topic. Now, instead of asking if he'll be back on the sidelines in 2014, it's suddenly whether or not he'll be finishing the 2013 season. What do you think?
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