Does Nebraska's Loss to Minnesota Put Bo Pelini Back on the Hot Seat?
Bo Pelini should be familiar with the coaching hot seat. He's seemingly been on it with some faction of the Nebraska Cornhuskers fan base since he took the job. But after Minnesota upset the No. 24 ranked Huskers 34-23 on Saturday afternoon, that hot seat may have just been set on fire.
These type of losses are the defining trait of the Bo Pelini era...5 straight seasons with a ranked Nebraska losing to an unranked team.— Garrett Gordon (@GarrettGordon) October 26, 2013
He already survived one very public diatribe against the fans that came out this season, but in a results driven world, a loss like what took place on Saturday in Minneapolis doesn't bode well for a school that expects championships and not losses to a school like Minnesota.
No offense to the Gophers, but Nebraska isn't supposed to lose to a school like Minnesota, ever.
If winning nine or more games every year has put Pellini on the hot seat before, certainly a loss like that on Saturday can't help matters at all.
It's not jus that it was Minnesota beating the Huskers, it was the fact that Pelini's specialty—defense—did his team in again.
As we end October and head to the final month of the regular season, Nebraska's defense took a giant step back instead of continuing the progression that happened in wins over Illinois and Purdue to open Big Ten play.
On Saturday, Pelini's defense gave up 430 yards of total offense to a team averaging over 100 yards fewer than that on the season. Minnesota came in rushing the ball fairly well, with a 210 yards per game average, but it bested the Huskers defense for 271 yards in the win.
Does Bo Pelini Deserve to be on the Hot Seat?
Nebraska also allowed Minnesota to pass for 159 yards on just 17 attempts, good for 9.4 yards per attempt—nearly three more yards an attempt than its average for the season coming into the game.
However, it wasn't just the defense either in this loss. Nebraska's offense didn't help matters much, turning the ball over twice and converting on just 4 of 12 third down opportunities in the game.
Nebraska was also held nearly 20 points below its season average coming into the game (42.2 points per game), as well as passing for a paltry 139 yards on 30 attempts.
Remember, that was also with a returning Taylor Martinez at quarterback as well.
Credit Minnesota's defense in this one as well, as they didn't allow Martinez to do anything in the run game, gaining just 15 yards on 8 carries.
The Gophers proved that if you found a way to play stout against Nebraska's pass game and not allow Martinez to beat you, you can win against the Huskers.
Whatever the Gophers did right, it doesn't matter because Nebraska fans expect more than almost any other fan base in the country, and a loss to a team like the Gophers just shouldn't happen in their minds.
In a day and age when big-time dollars are being spent by boosters all over the country, their influence is greater than ever before. So, whether reality and fan base expectations match up or not, the fans' opinions are more influential than ever before.
It also doesn't help when the most beloved player in program history, Tommie Frazier, isn't on board with what is going on. He was a critic of how Pelini handled himself during the scandal earlier this year, but on Saturday, he didn't mince his words either with a pair of telling tweets.
Do I need to say anymore?— Tommie Frazier (@TouchdownTommie) October 26, 2013
Where do we go from here #Husker Nation?— Tommie Frazier (@TouchdownTommie) October 26, 2013
Combine the regressing defensive results, bad offensive execution and a fan base who's support declines with each loss, and you have a coach who could very well be on the hottest seat outside of Texas.
*Andy Coppens is the lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.
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