What Decides Bo Pelini's Fate First: His Attitude, or His Record?

Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterOctober 29, 2013

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 5: Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Bo Pelini argues a call during their game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

Minnesota's 34-23 win over Nebraska in Week 9 was one of the biggest for the Gophers in recent memory. It also marked the first time since 1960 that the Huskers had lost to Minnesota, a win streak spanning 16 games. 

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has had some tough losses during his time in Lincoln. This was one of the toughest. On his Twitter account, iconic Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier, an outspoken critic of Pelini, again made his opinion known about the state of the Cornhuskers' program. 

The last time Frazier openly questioned Pelini, following a 41-21 loss to UCLA in September, the head coach responded, per Mitch Sherman of ESPN"Since I came back here, I've embraced former players. If he feels like that, then so be it. We don't need him. That's a shame."

That response, coupled with an audio tape of Pelini ripping Cornhuskers fans and media members recorded two years ago, divided the fanbase. Still, Nebraska's administration backed Pelini and chose not to fire him.

It was the right move. The tape revealed Pelini in a raw, unflattering moment, but that's something we've all had at one point or another in our lives. 

And Pelini has never been one to care about what others think. 

The reaction to the Minnesota loss, Nebraska's second of the season, has been much more subdued. Probably because Pelini hasn't fired back at Frazier's criticism and there's no accompanying tape of the coach mouthing off at the expense of others. Clearly, Pelini has learned how to handle those types of situations. 

The comments about Frazier and the tape were dark moments for Pelini and Nebraska, but ultimately, those moments are behind them. The more Pelini wins, the more those memories are going to be forgotten. 

Former Huskers QB Tommie Frazier has been critical of Pelini
Former Huskers QB Tommie Frazier has been critical of Pelini/Getty Images

But winning, at least enough to satisfy the masses, has been the issue with Pelini. Though he's taken the Cornhuskers to multiple conference championship games, he's never won one. He's also had four losses every year since taking over the program in 2008. 

The inability to return to a national championship level coupled with poor defensive performances have made Pelini a target. His sometimes abrasive attitude only further annoys his critics. 

Whether Pelini loses his job—or leaves—seems more of a discussion of when, not if. Maybe it's at the end of this season, maybe it's next year. Pelini is becoming too embattled and only a dramatic rise in championships will change that. 

When Pelini is no longer the coach at Nebraska, it be will because of wins and losses, not words.