I've been an LSU fan for as long as I can remember. I've been a Nebraska fan for more than 30 years.
My allegiance to both schools is unquestioned, and the only time I'm not bleeding purple and gold is when I'm bleeding scarlet and cream. I mean, I married a Nebraska grad. We were engaged at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln . . . at Husker football picture day.
There's only one thing about this Nebraska-fan thing. Now we're in the Big Ten. We're supposed to hate our "rival," Iowa. Yet I'm finding myself in the amen corner of . . . a Hawkeye football blogger, Adam Jacobi.
When the dude is right, the dude is right. And Jacobi nails it here on Black Heart, Gold Pants:
Then there's the remarkable stay of execution Bo Pelini got from AD Shawn Eichorst. The consensus, myself included, was that Peiini had coached his last game in Lincoln by the time the smoke cleared from his press conference. His team played terribly, he swiped his hat at a referee's face, he sniped at a sideline reporter at the half and he called an admittedly sketchy penalty "chicken shit" and dared his boss to fire him.YES, yes, a million times yes! And there lies the rub.
Eichorst did no such thing, instead publicly casting his support for his hot-tempered head coach. It's eminently possible that if Nebraska biffs its bowl game, the brass takes a renewed look around and sees a five-loss team with the most high-maintenance coach in the Big Ten (if not the nation) and decides it's not worth it. Rich Rodriguez's team laid down in its Gator Bowl appearance and Michigan axed him for it, so it's plausible. But it wouldn't make much sense, since if Eichorst wants to fire him, he could have done it right now without a problem.
Either way, Pelini's just been done the most impressive favor we've seen from an athletic director in quite some time, and if this quiets the hounds in Lincoln for a while so be it. Coaches get fired too often in this zero-sum game anyway. It's just, I've never seen a man so ready to be fired. It's amazing he didn't throw the microphones at the presser back at the reporters.
I'd be so sick of that crap if he were my school's head coach. I don't know how Nebraska fans even tolerate it. I know he's not like this every week (or really at all since 2010) but that's just embarrassing behavior from someone who's supposed to be one of the faces of a major university.
Most Husker fans -- beaten down by a decade of incompetence and burned by then-AD Steve Pederson's firing of a 9-3 coach, Frank Solich, and his ushering in of the disastrous Bill Callahan reign of gridiron error -- will forgive Pelini anything short of first-degree murder or the forcible rape of Herbie Husker. Some even think his Incredible Hulk shtick is somehow admirable, because "he's passionate."
Well, Woody Hayes was "passionate" when he punched a Clemson linebacker, Charlie Bauman, toward the end of the 1978 Gator Bowl. He also was a hell of a lot better head coach than Bo Pelini.
PELINI'S ANTICS during and after Friday's Nebraska-Iowa "Heroes Game" was just half a psychotic break short of what got the Woodster, the Buckeyes' greatest coach ever, canned the very next day after 28 years at Ohio State and five national championships. I guess Bo just wasn't "passionate" enough, alas.
AFTER BEING half an inch from being taken off the field in handcuffs, Pelini then dared his boss to can him. Wow.
And then . . . and then . . . in one of the most stunning examples of cheap grace ever, he didn't get fired. Double wow.
Then again, I guess a press release offering a cheap apology is all you need to get cheap grace -- particularly when it would cost a not-so-cheap $7.6 million to buy out the "penitent's" contract. Note to Husker AD Shawn Eichorst: Put your lawyer pants on and tweak the "for cause" language in all future contracts.
I don't think it's too much of a stretch to predict that Pelini's cheap grace from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will pay a dividend of more cheap displays from Mr. Accountability and more costly public-relations black eyes for a school and an entire state.
Yeah, Husker fans love them some "passion." Let's hope they don't get thrown by that wild horse.
If they -- if we -- do, better change the Nebraska fight song to Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns and Money." Because the chickenshit will have just hit the fan.