Just over two years ago, Nebraska fired head coach Bo Pelini after a 9-3 season and a season-ending win over rival Iowa, which included an impressive fourth quarter comeback. Delusional in their abilities, the Cornhuskers thought they were better than 9-3, so they fired a coach who had previously brought them to the Big Ten Championship Game and probably would again.
The past two years haven't been kind to Nebraska, which has gone 14-10 under new coach Mike Riley and is coming off a 40-10 shellacking to Iowa. The Huskers went 9-3 (!!!), but they didn't beat anyone with a pulse, supposedly the knock on Pelini from the fan base (though it wasn't very true).
Meanwhile, as Nebraska prepares for its second-tier bowl game, Bo Pelini—still a very good coach—is headed to the Football Championship Subdivision title game with his new yet hometown team, Youngstown State. They got there with this catch on the last play of the game:
With a championship berth wrapped up, what's Pelini's message to Nebraska? We can only guess that it's something along the lines of, "Fuck you, fans. Fuck all of you."
Yes, Pelini was rough around the edges, which is probably part of why he was fired from Nebraska, in addition to the perennial nine-win seasons. He seemingly never looked happy, and in addition to "fuck you fans," said things like "they want to fire me, go ahead." One game, he swung his hat at an official, and afterward he said he was reacting to a "chickenshit call." Most coaches will apologize for behavior like that; Pelini simply said the opposing coach was acting worse than him. He even called a meeting with his former players after he was fired in which he called the athletic director "a total pussy."
Things, uh, haven't changed at Youngstown State.
Pelini is who he is, and he's never going to change. He didn't fit in at Nebraska, and that's why a move all the way down to FCS Youngstown State was probably a good thing—he got to go back to his hometown, to a place that appreciated him. He should certainly be more sensitive with his words, but there's no evidence that Pelini is a terrible person of any sort; he's just kind of a hot head. There is evidence, however, that he is a very good football coach, and there are a lot of Power Five teams that could use him right about now.
Pelini's coaching acumen has been verified once again this season, and as Nebraska gets set for a mediocre bowl game, Pelini will be playing for a national title. Perhaps in public, Pelini won't say anything about the Huskers' fall and his subsequent rise, but in private, we know what he's saying, while laughing all the way to the title game: "Fuck you, fans. Fuck all of you."