Nebraska Cornhuskers

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Nebraska's Bo Pelini gets defensive following 38-17 loss to Iowa

Bo Pelini went on the defensive following Nebraska’s 38-17 loss to Iowa on Friday.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini (Photo: Doug McSchooler, AP)Pelini bristled at a question about his job status, but said he’s not concerned.

“If they want to fire me, go ahead,” Pelini told reporters following the game. “I believe in 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. And this program is heading in a good direction.”

The numbers don’t exactly back him up.

With the loss, Pelini’s team finished the regular season 8-4 and 5-3 in the Big Ten. It was the Huskers’ fewest regular-season wins since 2008, his first year. Nebraska lost three home games for the first time since 2007 under Bill Callahan.

Despite a 57-24 in six seasons at Nebraska, Pelini has come under heavy fire in the wake of ugly losses to UCLA and Minnesota. An audio recording of a profanity-laden tirade against Cornhuskers fans that went public in September isn’t helping matters.

Pelini’s temper was on full display Friday, and he was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he protested a third-quarter pass-interference call. He didn’t mince words when asked about the call in the postgame press conference.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Pelini said. “I’ve done a lot worse than that, and I saw (Iowa coach) Kirk Ferentz over on the other side acting a lot worse than I act. I didn’t see a flag come out on him.

“The bottom line is they knew they blew the call. They blew it. They blew that call over there on that third down. And everybody in the stadium knew it. They didn’t man up enough to pick that flag up.”

The question now becomes whether first-year athletic director Shawn Eichorst will decide to go in another direction. Pelini, who makes nearly $3 million a year, is under contract through 2017.

The general feeling has been that things were 50-50 with a 9-3 regular season. At 8-4, the odds probably aren’t nearly that good.

Still, the fact remains that six offensive linemen missed time with injuries, and fourth-year starting quarterback Taylor Martinez was limited to four games with a mysterious foot injury. Backup Tommy Armstrong Jr. missed the Iowa game with an ankle injury, forcing third-stringer Ron Kellogg III into action.

Pelini wouldn’t respond to questions about whether or not he had done enough to save his job.

“You know what? People are gonna say what they want to say,” he said. “I really don’t care. If they want someone — if somebody wants someone else — so be it. I’ll move on.

“I know what I know, and I believe in what we’re doing. I believe in how we’re doing it. We do it the right way here. That’s about it. That’s all you can do.”

Photo: Doug McSchooler, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Wednesday, Nov. 27

Ball State’s Pete Lembo is a hot name. His Cardinals are 9-2 and won nine games last year.

Ball State coach Pete Lembo is likely to be mentioned for several openings. (Photo: Richard Shiro, AP)

Ball State coach Pete Lembo is likely to be mentioned for several openings. (Photo: Richard Shiro, AP)

We’re told Lembo could be a serious candidate at both UConn and Wake Forest.

Sources indicate that Virginia coach Mike London is likely to return in 2014.

His saving grace? An $8.06 million buyout.

It would also cost the Cavs an additional $3.12 million to dump his staff. That’d over $11 million paid to coaches not to coach. That’s unlikely to happen at a place like Virginia.

There’s a ton of chatter about Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe. Multiple sources tell us that Grobe could retire or be pushed out. The Deacons are currently 4-7.

Michigan native Jerry Glanville says he’s the man for the Eastern Michigan job. Glanville lives in Atlanta, but he’d love the opportunity to return his home state and believes the Eagles can win.

According to the Detroit Free Press, other candidates for the EMU job include former Eagles quarterback Ron Adams, ex-Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatley, now an assistant with the Buffalo Bills, former Miami (Ohio) coach Mike Haywood, and Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin, previously with Grand Valley State.

At Georgia, there are lots of rumors flying around Athens that the Bulldogs could make some defensive staff changes.

We continue to hear that Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin is going to get looks from the NFL. It’s expected to be a big year for coaching changes in the Not-For-Long league, and the timing might be right for Sumlin to exit College Station.

We’ve been told privately some sources have told us there could be a few staff changes at Northwestern. The Chicago Sun-Times makes that sound very possible.

Akron has extended Terry Bowden’s contract. The Zips are 4-7, but that’s still the school’s most wins in five seasons.

We’re hearing varying opinions on how much trouble Nebraska’s Bo Pelini is in. After sampling several coaches this week, the consensus seems tobe that Pelini keeps his job at 9-3. If the Huskers have a meltdown against Iowa then things get a little more dicey, but for his part, Pelini says he’s not coaching for his job.

At Indiana, we continue to hear that Kevin Wilson is likely to return, but to expect major staff changes on defense. Wilson says his program is making progress.

We’re hearing that Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads will return, but again, expect a major staff shakeup. Rhoads said this week he feels his job “absolutely not” in danger.

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Monday, Nov. 4

Following Saturday’s 23-20 loss to Georgia, Florida is now 4-4 on the year and this week’s Vanderbilt game looms large.

Florida coach Will Muschamp (Photo: Steve Mitchell, USA Today Sports)Multiple sources indicate they believe Will Muschamp is safe for 2014, at least for now. But a loss to the Commodores on Saturday would add pressure, big time.

If Muschamp returns (and we expect him to), expect major staff changes on the offensive side of the ball.

Dana Holgorsen and West Virginia got a much needed win over TCU on Saturday, but his status is still shaky. Most insiders believe he is in serious danger.

With his team at 4-4, the heat on Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is rising. The Bulldogs could easily lose three of their remaining four games – and even the Arkansas game could be considered a toss-up.

Mullen is in danger of losing his job, but some believe he might be working on an exit strategy…

His name has surfaced as a potential candidate to replace the fred Paul Pasqualoni at UConn.

Former Arkansas and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt is also interested in the job.

At Florida Atlantic, the names we hear most are former FIU head coach and current Alabama assistant Mario Cristobal, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and Miami offensive coordinator James Coley.

Other names that have surfaced for the job include Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell, Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder, former Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and ex-Florida head coach Ron Zook.

CBSSports’ Jason La Canfora reported Sunday that former Bears coach Lovie Smith interviewed for the USC job. Smith denies he interviewed and says he has zero interest in the job.

Sources tell FRM that A.D. Pat Haden reached out to Jon Gruden, but that the reception was lukewarm. We’re told Gruden could end up back in Oakland where it all began.

Back to USC… The Trojans are doing exactly what we expected — looking at coaches with NFL backgrounds. We’re also told not to rule out interim coach Ed Orgeron as a serious candidate. A lot depends on oh the Trojans finish.

Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin could be a serious candidate at Miami (Ohio). We’re told the RedHawks plan to stick to the their usual MO and hire an up and comer.

The heat is rising on Jim Grobe at Wake Forest. The Deacons are 4-5 and could easily finish 4-8.

Does Nebraska coach Bo Pelini have nine lives? There was some speculation that if the Huskers lost to Northwestern on Saturday that Pelini wouldn’t have a job today.

Thanks to a Ron Kellogg III-to-Jordan Westerkamp miracle Hail Mary as time expired, Pelini is safe… at least for now.

Photo: Steve Mitchell, USA Today Sports

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Thursday, Oct. 31

Pressure has eased on Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen after the Kentucky win, but there is still tons of chatter. As we’ve mentioned previously, if they make a move, expect ULL’s Mark Hudspeth to get first call.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen (Photo: Kerry Smith, AP)Mack Brown’s future at Texas could hinge on the Baylor game. A bad loss could spell the end – even if the Horns finish 9-3.

It’s no secret that their top target is Nick Saban. Other early names to watch include Art Briles, Jimbo Fisher, Charlie Strong and Jon Gruden.

Speaking of Gruden… This year could finally be the year he returns to coaching. However, the most likely landing spot may be his old stomping ground. There’s lots of chatter Gruden could return to the Raiders with full control over the front office.

Early names at Florida Atlantic include two first-year offensive coordinators with strong south Florida ties — Miami’s James Coley and Cincinnati’s Eddie Gran. Gran was a serious candidate when Carl Pelini was hired.

Expect staff changes at Appalachian State.

If a move is made to get rid if Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia, don’t be surprised if Rich Rod is a candidate to return home. It would definitely be interesting to watch the fan base’s reaction if that took place.

The Florida International job could open after just one year under Ron Turner.

There is major pressure building to oust Bo Pelini at Nebraska. He needs to win, badly. If he goes, former Husker quarterback and current Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost could be a candidate, although most think he needs a little more experience.

At USC, Jack Del Rio is still very much in the mix. Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter is also getting some attention as a fall back option.

Most believe Pat Haden’s early targets will be bigger names and will likely have NFL experience.

At Toledo, second-year coach Matt Campbell has signed extension through the 2017 season.

Campbell was promoted from offensive coordinator when Tim Beckman took the job at Illinois. The Rockets are 14-7 under his watch, including a 5-3 record and 3-1 in the MAC this year.

There are lots of rumors that Boise State’s Chris Petersen may finally be ready to finally make a move.

Photo credit: Kerry Smith, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Monday, Oct. 28

It’s not exactly at shock that Bo Pelini’s Nebraska is going to lose at least four games this season (he always does), but we really didn’t expect one of them to be Minnesota.

Are there enough "Bo-lievers" to save the Nebraska coach?

Are there enough “Bo-lievers” to save the Nebraska coach?

Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised. @GarrettGordon reports this is the fifth consecutive season a ranked Nebraska team has lost to an unranked opponent.

Pelini entered the season on the hot seat after last season’s meltdown in the B1G Championship Game when his team gave up 70 to Wisconsin.

Then, in September, an audio tape surfaced where Pelini ripped both the media and Cornhuskers’ fans after a 2011 game. The best line was reserved for the Husker faithful: “It took everything in my power to not say, ‘F— you, fans. F— all of you.’ F— ‘em.”

Nebraska can beat every opponent left on it’s schedule. The Huskers could also lose four more. More than likely, they’ll split the difference and end up with four losses just as they have in each of the past five seasons under Pelini.

We think that gets him fired.

Dana Holgorsen won ten games in his first season at West Virginia — but that was in the Big East.

In 2012, WVU moved to the Big 12 and the record dropped to 7-6. The Mountaineers are now 3-5 and could potentially lose out.

Sources tell us that 5-7 probably earns Holgorsen a pink slip. The only wild card is A.D. Oliver Luck. As we mentioned yesterday, he very well could be headed to Texas.

How does that affect Holgorsen? we don’t know yet but it’s an interesting wildcard.

Mack Brown helped his cause once again with an impressive win over TCU. The Longhorns figure to throttle both Kansas and West Virginia over the next two weeks to get to 7-2.

Then, the rubber meets the road.

Texas ends the season with Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and at Baylor.

The Baylor game could very well decide the Big 12. A Longhorns win and it’s hard to see a change. A bad loss makes the situation much more dicey.

Despite big wins in the last two, this soap opera is a long way from over.

USC wants (and needs?) to make a big splash with their hire. Mike Riley’s name was floating around last week, and Jack Del Rio was hot for awhile. So were Kevin Sumlin and James Franklin.

We think Pat Haden is likely doing due diligence on several candidates and will move quickly once the season ends to fill the position.

Virginia A.D. Craig Littlepage announced less than two weeks ago that coach Mike London would return next season, but we all now how much mid-season declarations of safety mean.

Littlepage made those statements before the Wahoos lost to Duke and Georgia Tech, bringing the losing streak to five, and UVa’s overall record to 2-6. With games against Clemson, at North Carolina and Miami, and the season finale vs. Virginia Tech remaining, winning one more to finish 3-9 may be a stretch.

Sources close to London indicate they believe the Cavs coach is safe for another season. Others aren’t so sure.

Regardless of what Littlepage said publicly, we’re told London is not out the woods. A 2-10 season almost has to bring a change, so there’s a good chance this one opens.

We’ve heard rumblings that Kansas could replace Charlie Weis after just two seasons, and those rumors are picking up steam.

The Jayhawks fired a religious fanatic after two seasons and replaced him with Satan’s brother.

Perhaps KU should try looking for someone a little more “normal”?

We told you about the hell Southern Miss is in in Friday’s Rumor Mill, and after this weekend, the Golden Eagles have now lost 19 straight. This week was a 55-14 thrashing by North Texas, on Homecoming no less…

Quick Hitters

Iowa State: We’re told, at a minimum, to expect staff changes.

North Texas: Lots of chatter here. Some think Dan McCarney could hang it up after the season.

Purdue: Look for staff changes. Possibly several.

Florida Atlantic: Expect staff changes on the defensive side of the ball.

Photo credit: Nati Harnik, AP

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The Rumor Mill :: College Football Coaching News and Rumors – Tuesday, Oct. 22

It’s not exactly a secret that Bo Pelini is in trouble at Nebraska.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini (Photo: Doug McSchooler, AP)

Things look shaky for Nebraska coach Bo Pelini.

The situation isn’t wholly about wins and losses. He has won a lot of games, but has yet to win anything of real significance. His personality has also rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, and that combination is not a good one.

Even though it was a “no brainer” in the eyes of most fans, the general consensus among the coaching fraternity is that it was hard to justify Lane Kiffin’s firing. Kiffin won 8, 10, 7 and was fired after a 3-2 start — all while on NCAA probation.

The way they see it, Kiffin’s team had 55 scholarships vs. everyone else’s 85, and USC athletics director Pat Haden loved him in August.

Haden was appealing the NCAA sanctions and complaining about the hardships the scholarship reductions have caused the same week he fires Kiffin for not winning enough games. Amongst coaches, that generated a collective “Huh?” and will likely cause at least some potential replacements to think a little longer before taking the job.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12… We’re not sure how many games Washington has to win for Steve Sarkisian to keep his job, but one thing is clear: he’s in trouble. The Huskies are 4-3 and the opening win over Boise doesn’t look so impressive anymore.

Three consecutive losses — the last two by 21 and 29 — do not bode well. Upcoming games vs. Cal and Colorado look like wins, but UCLA, Oregon State and Washington State will tell the tale, and he needs a strong finish. Seven (or fewer) regular seasons wins could get him fired.

Dana Holgorsen is in jeopardy at West Virginia. It certainly looks like he’s going to win fewer games each consecutive season. After winning 10 in 2011, the Mountaineers won seven last season and are 3-3 with a tough schedule ahead this year. Add in off-the-field and personal issues that plagued his early time in Morgantown and things don’t look good.

You can also add Mississippi State to the watch list. Though one source said earlier this week that Dan Mullen was safe, multiple others see it differently. Apparently, Mullen has rubbed some folks the wrong way and made his share of enemies in Starkville.

If that wasn’t enough, the natives are plenty restless about his team’s performance on the field. At 3-3 with road games against South Carolina and Texas A&M plus home games vs. Alabama and arch-rival Ole Miss still on the docket, there will be plenty of sleepless nights ahead for Mullen.

What’s perhaps even worse for Mullen, State fans love Mark Hudspeth, who served as the Bulldogs wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator under Mullen in 2009-10 and is currently head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Hudspeth’s Ragin’ Cajuns went 9-4 each of the past two seasons and currently sit at 4-2 with a slew of probable wins on the schedule. Chances are, he’ll look like an even more enticing candidate come December.

Also keep an eye on Minnesota. Jerry Kill has done a great job, but his health may force a change there.

Photo credit: Doug McSchooler, AP

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Pelini to recruit: "Best of luck, you're going to need it"

Bo Pelini (Photo: Rebecca S. Gratz/Omaha World-Herald)

Bo Pelini (Photo: Rebecca S. Gratz/Omaha World-Herald)

Bo Pelini’s temper has gotten him in hot water before, and if Dominic Walker’s account of a recent conversation is accurate, Pelini doesn’t reserve his frustration for the sidelines or the post game press conference.

On Friday, Walker, a three-star wide receiver recruit from Orlando, Fla., switched his commitment from Nebraska to Auburn.

Walker originally committed to Vanderbilt back in the summer, but visited Nebraska in late September and flipped to the Cornhuskers a couple of months later.

Walker said his earlier change of heart made the decision to switch to Auburn especially difficult, and he wanted to call Pellini and Husker wide receiver coach Rich Fisher to inform them of his decision personally.

According to the Orlando Sentinel:

“It was a very tough decision. They were [mad]. They were very mad. But I thought I had to call them like a real man shoould,” Walker said. “But yeah, they were mad. Coach Pelini said, ‘Best of luck, you’re going to need it.’ ”

Wide receivers coach Rich Fisher also was in on the call.

“Coach Fisher said, ‘I can’t believe you,’ ” Walker said. “It was really awkward.”

Pellini’s frustration is understandable, but he should’ve kept the snide remarks to himself. After all, Walker de-committed from Vanderbilt before he chose Nebraska in the first place, so it’s hard to believe Pelini and Fisher felt too good about the strength of Walker’s bond.

The Friday decision and phone call wasn’t the first sign that Walker was wavering.

Since his hiring at Auburn in early December, Gus Malzahn made Walker and his high school teammate Tony Stevens (also a highly recruited wide receiver) a priority. The pair bonded with Malzahn and Tiger assistant Dameyune Craig and made official visits to Auburn last weekend. Just after the visit, Stevens switched his commitment from Texas A&M to Auburn, while Walker told reporters that he was torn between the Tigers and Huskers.

Pelini and Fisher made an in home visit to Walker early in the week, and according to a report from AuburnSports.com, Walker hinted that their pitch may have turned him off.

“The visit was about how much of an impact I would make for their class, it was a good visit,” Walker said. “But they were trying to bring up the bad things about why I shouldn’t go to Auburn. They were trying to tell me the bad things — trying to persuade me why I should go to their school. But I didn’t understand that. They can say anything, but it’s been two or three years since Cam Newton and nothing has happened.”

In the end, Walker said that everything worked out for the best. He’ll get to play closer to home, alongside his high school teammate.

“There’s more opportunity for my family to see me play because it’s closer to home and there’s a better chance for me to go in and play right away, which is what I was looking for all along,” Walker said. “Plus, I get to play another four years with my teammate Tony and that’s great … everything is just great.”

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