This is just getting ridiculous.
Look, I'm not going to defend Bo Pelini, especially in light of another no-show on a National Stage. Pelini is a great pregame planner and more often than not, he has the right idea of what to do in most situations, but that does not abstain him from the absolute mockery Nebraska football has been made into as of late. With that said, the article I had planned on writing is already out of date because two very obnoxious things happened today. While separate in scope and impact, they both resonate nationally and help me in my debunking of one of the great myths: that Nebraska is truly home to the Greatest Fans in College Football.
So let's start at the beginning. Nebraska got worked by UCLA. I get that, you get that, and we all move on. Pelini is on the hotseat, but that's more of a postseason discussion considering this is Week 3 against what is now a Top Ten team playing for a teammate who got killed in a car accident. Again, that does not absolve Pelini from the trainwreck that was the second half, but it does mean that we need to at least step back from the ledge. Instead of said step back, we - as a fanbase - have collectively jumped.
It started with the now infamous tweet by Tommie Frazier that basically called for everyone's head. While Tommie Frazier is an icon and could probably be governor of Nebraska if he so chose, the reality is that it was a cheap shot and not necessary and probably self-serving for his own publicity as much as anything. His background as a coach was not exactly something that was noteworthy, and to knock the staff that is just trying to keep things together in crisis is not the most helpful thing. He could have questioned the direction of the program and said he thinks Bo is in a, "put up or shut up" game, but went for the jugular more or less. This is his prerogative of course, but it didn't help much except create controversy...
Which leads us to today. Bo Pelini responded to a question about the tweet this morning. As Corn Nation reported, the full length was much more innocuous a response given the content, but I'll let you read for yourself:
"I didn't read what he had to say, I kind of heard about it. I can say this, we have a staff of players, people, administration, everybody here who is busting their butt to do what they can and win football games and do everything they can for these student athletes," Pelini said. "Since I've came back here, I've embraced the former players. And if he feels like that, then so be it, we don't need him. That's a shame.
"Until you've sat in this seat and done it, anybody can have an opinion. Anybody can do that. But like I said, it's easy to point fingers and stand outside and throw stones. I take it for what it is."
Of course what people heard was, "WE DON'T NEED HIM!" Why? Because it was an emotional line that came out in context and people love to make a witch hunt when they can. It was ridiculous to say that Bo didn't deserve to say his piece on what was offered against him and his team. What Bo didn't say was, "Frazier is wrong and an awful human being and I am absolutely right." No, he said, "look guys, this sucks for everyone and I'm trying. Guys who don't see that or choose not to aren't helping." It was a fair statement, but it let the national media launch what is turning into a hellish day in Lincoln...
Because now deadspin released some two year old audio that was probably made post-Ohio State in which Pelini lambasted the OWH and the Fans (who left early and missed a comeback spectacular) off the record. Oh, and Pelni said 'fuck' on air. So now we have some deadbeat fans basically going after Bo in the worst possible way at the worst possible time. And all for what? What is the endgame here?
And this is where I'll end my admittedly ranty post. Look, Bo should be judged at the end of the season for his transgressions. This team has been mediocre in big moments for a while and sooner or later you atone for that. It's a business and he knows this rests on him. It's not about who you can get better, it's not about how good/bad you look, but it is about accountability and Pelini knows this better than anyone. My issue is not criticism. My issue is that Nebraska fans are acting like petulant children who didn't get their way and it's embarrassing.
Look, Nebraska has a great tradition and all the amenities to succeed. I hope the University does succeed and I hope they try to still do things the way they always have. That said, what do fans expect? Bo to get fired midseason? How does that help anything? Is that fair to the kids playing football for the man that recruited them? Is it in the spirit of our great tradition? Furthermore, what coach wants to be here right now?
Are we seriously considering Scott Frost who hasn't been a head coach ever? How about any of the other assistants that are, "hot names,"? There just aren't good endings for Nebraska fans in this story. Worst of all, the ugly petty side of Nebraska fans is now wide open for the world to see, which is fantastic.
I was at the game on Saturday and showed my wife the ridiculous, "Through these gates walks the greatest fans in college football," signs. She thought it sounded pretentious. At first I agreed but was at least sympathetic with the intent. However, after more thought and after the events of today, I'm over it. We're no different than anyone else, and while that's not all bad, it's time for Husker fans to stop hiding behind this facade. If you have an issue with Bo, that's fair. Go after his performance. This junk surrounding releasing audio about the Omaha World Herald and fans that left at halftime of a game that wasn't completely out of reach? Those fans can go sulk in the corner. At least we now can all see through the Greatest Myth in College Football. Looks like this season got a whole lot less fun.