A total of 106 All-Americans, 52 consensus All-Americans, three Heisman Trophies and five National Championships have borne the Nebraska brand name before Bo Pelini was given the reins of the historic Cornhusker program.
Yet it's been 11 years since Big Red Nation has hoisted a National Championship trophy and eight years since any Husker has received football's highest honor at the Downtown Athletic Club.
Pelini's predecessor, Bill Callahan, managed a 27-22 record over four seasons while at the helm in Lincoln, and while that might not seem all too shabby, his predecessor, Frank Solich, went 58-19 over six seasons...and was fired!
For the Cornhusker faithful, Callahan could not have gotten out of Lincoln fast enough.
In Callahan's final season, Nebraska posted a 5-7 record which included a 41-6 drubbing at the hands of Missouri, which was followed a week later by a 45-14 beatdown courtesy of Oklahoma State.
For Nebraska fans, who have been accustomed to being mentioned in the same breath as perennial title contenders Oklahoma and Texas, losses like those were just too much to swallow.
Things had gotten so bad in Lincoln that the alumni blew the dust off of Tom Osborne and propped him up, "Weekend at Bernie's" style, to escort Callahan and despised athletic director Steve Pederson as far away from Memorial Stadium as possible.
The search for a new skipper to right the ship was limited to a very short list to begin with. That list was rumored to have included only former Nebraska quarterback Turner Gill (currently the head coach at Buffalo), Wake Forrest head coach Jim Grobe, and Pelini.
It took less than two weeks for Osborne to name Pelini, who had previously coached the "Black Shirts" of Nebraska during Solich's tenure as the top coach, the chosen one.
Now, after all the fanfare, after all the hype and all the drooling over former Cornhusker alums returning to Lincoln to restore the program to its storied place in college football's royalty, the honeymoon is over and Pelini will have to put up or shut up.
He'll get a pass this season, as most first-year men do, but that will be about all the rope he'll get in Lincoln.
At a Tuesday press conference, Pelini admitted that he feels the pressure as the season opener against Western Michigan approaches.
"You don't know what you have until it's real bullets flying," Pelini said.
Lucky for him, nobody called him to task for his military reference in the sensitive "war climate" our nation is currently enduring.
But again, it's still early, and in his first year on the job, he's got a couple of free passes coming his way, but not many.
Just ask his two predecessors.
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