By Randy York
Thanks to Keith Mann and his Nebraska media relations team, we have some interesting notes for everyone as we begin the countdown to the Capital One Bowl, NU's first ever as a member of the Big Ten Conference. Consider, if you will, that Bo Pelini, a fourth-year head coach, has guided the Huskers to nine or more wins in each of his first four years at Nebraska. That accomplishment is not only impressive compared to other Nebraska coaches, but also when looking at the history of college football.
Among schools currently in a BCS automatic-qualifying conference, Pelini has become just the 15th head coach in college football history to win at least nine games in their first four seasons on the job at that school. The group includes four Nebraska coaches (Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne, Frank Solich and Pelini). Pelini, Solich and Texas' Mack Brown were the only coaches in Big 12 history (1996) to win nine or more games in each of their first three seasons.
Pelini also was among a group of 18 FBS head coaches who were hired for their jobs beginning with the 2008 season. Pelini leads that group of 18 head coaches in victories over the past four years with 38 wins, three more than Houston's Kevin Sumlin, who just left his job to take over at Texas A&M. Pelini, in fact, is one of only seven coaches in the group of 18 still in the job they were hired for prior to the 2008 season.
There's more. When looking only at those in their first head coaching job at a BCS Conference school, Pelini is one of only six to win nine games in each of their first four years on the job. To me, it's fairly fascinating that three of those six coaches are from Nebraska: Osborne (1973-74-75-76), Solich (1998-99-2000-01) and Pelini (2008-09-10-11). The other three are Oklahoma's Barry Switzer (1973-74-75-76), Miami's Larry Coker (2001-02-03-04) and Louisville's Bobby Petrino (2003-04-05-06).
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Voices from Husker Nation
This article is a very good read, and in my opinion, it should be printed in every newspaper in the state, so fans understand what we have in Bo. I've been a Husker fan for over 50 years, so I've seen some very bad football teams at Nebraska. I even remember what it was like before Bob Devaney came. If we had a winning season, it was great. Here's how I feel as a Husker fan: Bo is a very good coach, and he has brought us back to where we are today. All these Husker fans who think Bo should go had better remember the last decade when a winning coach was fired and someone else was hired. We all know what happened then. Fans also need to remember Dr. Tom and all the 9-win seasons he had before the 1990s. This also was with more scholarships than Bo has to give out. To me, as long as Bo and his teams keep performing like they have for the last four years, I'll be happy. In time, the national championship will come again just like it did for Dr. Tom. If we continue to win at least 9 games a season the 10, 11, 12 or 13-win season will happen. Again, this was a very good read. My only hope is writers and fans read it and think of what we do have in Bo. Roger Weir, North Platte, Nebraska