The time has come for the Nebraska Cornhuskers to move forward in their attempt to regain national prominence in college football. Last night 70-31 shellacking at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten championship game was the final straw for embattle Head Coach (HC) Po Pelini's five year reign in Lincoln.
The defense, specially the front seven, which was supposed to be Pelini's calling card, was gashed over and over by an average Badger's team that was only playing in the game because the two top teams in Leaders Division, Ohio State and Penn State, were ineligible to participate in the post season due to NCAA sanctions.When Nebraska sat atop the college football world in the 1980s, 90s and the early 2000s, their defensive linemen and linebackers were powerful run stuffers. Nebraska's strength and conditioning program was one of the most celebrated in the Nation. Former HC Tom Osborn was famous from transforming a walk-on freshman into a powerful defender. Such was the fame of that program that several sports magazines made it their cover stories. Even CBS ran a piece on it.At the other side of the ball, back in their hey days, the Cornhusker's offensive line was big and strong enough to block for anyone. Nebraska also used to have talented skill position players every year. Remember RB Mike Rozier, WR Irving Fryar and QBs Tommy Frazier and Eric Crouch?.Now all that talent, ability to recruit and develop it seems gone.Gone also are the days when the Cornhuskers played for national championships. In fact, the last time Nebraska played in a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game was in the 2003 Rose Bowl.They have not finish in the top ten since the end of 2002. The highest end of the season ranking in the Pelini era was a mediocre 14th in 2009.This program is stuck in neutral since Pelini took over five years ago following the disastrous reign of Bill Callahan. Pelini's defenders point towards one number: 9. that's how many wins the program have average during the past four seasons. But nine wins is not good enough in Lincoln, especially if there are no signs of improvement.Last year the defense was torched at an average of 350.7 yards per game to rank a pedestrian 37th among FBS teams. Teams average 23.4 points against the once mighty Black Shirts defense. This year is the same story over again. The defense is allowing 343.1 yards and 38 touchdowns!The talent pool is also going dry, and fast.As of today, Nebraska's 2013 high school recruiting class ranks a pedestrian 33rd in the country. It's has to be a sad day for Husker Nation to see the likes of Rutgers, Utah, Baylor, and Vanderbilt; yes, the Commodores, ahead of the once mighty Cornhuskers in recruiting.That's an indictment on Pelini.If Nebraska does not made a coaching change now, look for the program to sink into mediocrity within two seasons.Remember that stat about 9 wins per year? Most of them were against the likes of Chattanooga, Wyoming, Arkansas State, and Idaho State. Hardly the best teams in college football. As for Big Ten competition, yes, they routinely beat on Minnesota and Illinois; hardly top 20 teams.A change must occur and fast.
By Raul Colon