Welcome Back, Huskers: Bo Pelini and the Future of Nebraska Football
Even in the world of college football, the universe has its own way of making things right.
Leagues come and go, but tradition finds a way to survive the storm. After the recent realignment fiasco, many anticipate further instability in the Big 12.
They wonder how, without Nebraska to counter the dominance of Texas and Oklahoma, can this conference survive? It's funny how much bigger and more frightening Texas looks without Nebraska in the picture.
But Nebraska doesn't concern itself with that anymore. They're on the fast track back to dominance. Even in the Big 10.
Many of the young people who grew up watching Texas and Oklahoma rule the decade have failed to witness just how legitimate Nebraska football is. They were just a little late to the party.
They probably aren't aware that Nebraska has won more national championships than Texas. They probably aren't aware that Nebraska ranks third all-time in wins.
Why is that?
If you ask a bleeding-red Cornhusker, they might blame the Big 12.
Nebraska never did seem to fit in, especially throughout the 2000s. This was evident from the early days of the conference, when four members of the Southwest Conference, including Texas, merged with the Big 8 to form the Big 12.
In 1994, head coach and current athletic director Tom Osborne foresaw an ugly marriage with larger-than-life programs Texas and Texas A&M.
In the past decade, Texas and Oklahoma have emerged as the Kings of the conference, leaving Nebraska in a cloud of smoke with the likes of Missouri and Kansas.
This has been most prevalent in the recent past, as evidenced by the conference-wide decision to finalize the relocation of the Big 12 Championship to Cowboys Stadium. It was an 11-1 decision.
Tom Osborne was the lone opposing vote.
Nebraska has been the one program with too much pride to play under Texas rules. Given their rich, Heisman-littered history, they've felt disrespected and mistreated by the big dogs down south.
With five national championships, three Heisman Trophy winners, and ranking third all-time in wins, Nebraska is among the elite of the elite. And Tom Osborne wants to be treated accordingly.
There are Davids and Goliaths everywhere around the country. Since joining the Big 12, Nebraska has simply refused to be David.
What does the future hold for Nebraska?
In the very least, revitalization. At the very most, domination.
The gritty, defensive style of play that the Huskers have long embodied has become peculiar in recent years.
With the spread offense taking the conference by storm, Nebraska's love for the physical ground game seemed like an odd fit. They weren't flashy, nor did they want to be.
In fact, we all saw what happened when they took that route. The hiring of Bill Callahan in 2004 brought forth a complete overhaul of their ideology and personality.
His implementation of the West Coast offense didn't exactly help maintain Nebraska's dominance. Under Callahan, the Huskers suffered their first losing season in 41 years.
The hiring of native Cornhusker Bo Pelini looks like the centerpiece in Nebraska's plan to become what it once was.
He's a no-nonsense, defensive-oriented tough guy who has a love for a solid ground game. Sounds like a Husker to me.
We saw just how far Pelini has brought this team during last year's Championship against the almighty Texas.
With their old ways of doing things, along with an extra $15 million in their pocket, Nebraska will return in all its glory as a member of the Big 10.
However, Nebraska still has one final thing they want to do before they leave officially.
Destroy Texas on Oct. 16, 2010.
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