Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini has been fired, the school announced Sunday morning.
The Huskers are 9-3 this season, and Nebraska has won at least nine games in each of Pelini's seven seasons at the school. But the Huskers also lost four games in each of Pelini's previous six seasons, and what looked to be a promising season fell apart in November with back-to-back losses to Wisconsin and Minnesota that took the Huskers out of the running for the Big Ten West Division title.
In addition, Pelini's often out-of-control demeanor on the sideline and his dismissive attitude toward fans has cost him support the past few seasons.
He recently was asked about potentially making staff changes in order to save his job, and he said he wouldn't do that. Both of his coordinators, Tim Beck on offense and John Papuchis on defense, have been heavily criticized the past two seasons.
Immediate speculation on a successor focused on Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost, who was a quarterback at Nebraska under revered former coach Tom Osborne. Frost, 39, is a Nebraska native who is in his second season overseeing one of the nation's most prolific offenses, and his background in offense could be appealing to a school that has just fired a defense-minded coach. But Frost is just three seasons removed from being a wide receiver coach at Oregon and didn't begin coaching in the FBS ranks until 2009.
In addition, Frost's lack of head-coaching experience may not appeal to Nebraska AD Shawn Eichhorst, who has been AD since January 2013; he was at Miami for two years before moving on. While Nebraska hasn't won a conference title since 1999, it still is a job that should appeal to some big-name candidates, including a handful of NFL assistants. Facilities are good and fan support is tremendous; there also is a history of winning football.
This is the second time in recent history that Nebraska has fired a coach coming off a nine-win season, as Frank Solich was fired after going 9-3 in 2003; Solich was 58-19 in six seasons after replacing Osborne, and the program has gone through more than its share of shaky moments in the past decade.
The Lincoln Journal-Star reports that Pelini is owed $7.65 million by the school; in addition, the assistants are owed about $3.1 million combined.