48: Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini's Two Days From Hell
It's hard to believe it's been four years since 24 closed up shop. For eight seasons, Jack Bauer (played with by the comically over-the-top Kiefer Sutherland) graced our television screens screaming catchphrases like "WE DON'T HAVE A LOT OF TIME" while trying to catch bad guys. Like really, really bad guys. Like terrorist pieces of shit.
For those who don't remember or didn't watch, the premise of the show was simple. The entire season was 24 one hour episodes of events happening in real time, and oddly enough Jack Bauer was the only person in history to endure multiple terrorist attacks and government backstabbings in a single day without going to the bathroom even once.
And he did it eight times. And it was awesome. If nothing else, it made me feel good knowing whatever day I was having, it couldn't be any worse than Jack Bauer's day (even though Bauer was totally fictional).
I bring this up because Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini just had about as close to a college football coach's version of a Jack Bauer day as one could have.
For the sake of mathematical correctness, Pelini's escapades played out over closer to a 48 hour period, not 24 hours. Also, Pelini's issues did not involve any guns or nuclear weapons, unless you count Pelini's temper, which is a B83 bomb ready to detonate at any moment.
In the spirit of 24, let's unveil what went down:
"The following takes place between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. ...." After jumping out to a 21-3 lead at home, the 23rd ranked Huskers allowed the 16th ranked UCLA Bruins to score 38 points in just over 30 minutes, including 28 points in a soul crushing, back breaking, potentially job terminating (for Peilini) third quarter. UCLA wound up with over 500 yards of total offense, which is a brutal indictment for a head coach who is supposed to be some sort of defensive wizard (a reputation whose justification ended, oddly enough, about the time 24 did).
Here are the highlights, in case you missed it:
"The following takes place between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. ...." Tommie Frazier is a Nebraska legend. A three time national champion at quarterback, Frazier would be on the short list of players that you would put on a Cornhusker Mount Rushmore. Nearly two decades removed from his time in Lincoln as a student-athlete, Frazier still makes his home in the Omaha area and is apparently a religious follower still of his Cornhuskers. I know this because following the UCLA debacle, he tweeted this:
After letting it sink in for about 4 hours I still struggling. It's time to get rid of the (cont) http://t.co/fqMgFHZWQl— Tommie Frazier (@TouchdownTommie) September 15, 2013
In case you don't feel like clicking the twitlonger link, here is the full text of Frazier's evaluation of the defensive effort on Saturday:
After letting it sink in for about 4 hours I still struggling. It's time to get rid of the defensive play caller, the Dc, lb dl and db coaches. I hate saying this but this crap is getting old. How in the hell do you not make adjustments or put your players in the position to compete? If this is what is going to happen for the remainder of the season, count me out. I don't care if we lose a game but the way we are losing is just not what #Nebraska fans deserve. I have fought, bled, and cried over this program. I didn't do all that for the program to become what it has today. Time for change! I will comment about the offense this week on Tommie's X's and O's. Trust me you don't want to miss it. #Huskers
The only thing missing is a link to monster.com and a gift card to amazon.com so Pelini can purchase some resume software.
Fast forward to Monday....
"The following takes place between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. ...." Being employed by the football program at Nebraska and being on the wrong side of Tommie Frazier is probably not the best idea if you're trying to maintain your job. Apparently, Bo Peilini either disagrees or doesn't give a shit, because when asked about Frazier's tweet, he had this to say:
Exact quote from Bo about Frazier: "If he feels that way, so be it. We don't need him." #Huskers— Brian Christopherson (@HuskerExtraBC) September 16, 2013
I imagined at the time that this would not end well for Pelini. I liken casually dismissing Tommie Frazier in the state of Nebraska to walking into any junior high cafeteria and telling all of the girls that One Direction sucks. Ultra parochial chaos ensue.
However, who knew it would get worse? Much worse.
"The following takes place between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. ...." Back on October 8, 2011, Nebraska was playing Ohio State at home. Down by three touchdowns in the second half, the Huskers staged the biggest comeback in the history of the program and knocked off the Buckeyes by a final score of 34-27. (If that sounds odd, Nebraska beating Ohio State, just know that 2011 was the ill-fated Luke Fickell season in Columbus.)
Well, I guess some of the fans decided to leave the game early before Nebraska pulled its comeback, and this didn't sit well with Pelini, who said in a private conversation, which was somehow recorded and two years later leaked to Deadspin on Monday, with Greg Sharpe of the Husker Sports Network (and some random woman whose voice you'll hear):
"It took everything in my power to not say, 'Fuck you, fans. Fuck all of you.' Fuck 'em...Our crowd. What a bunch of fucking fair-weather fucking--they can all kiss my ass out the fucking door. 'Cause the day is fucking coming now. We'll see what they can do when I'm fucking gone. I'm so fucking pissed off."
It's a five star rant that also includes some f-bomb laden shrapnel for Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald with whom Pelini had a run in earlier that week. Here's the sound in tis entirety:
The revelation of this two year old sound led to concern (and veiled anger) from the Nebraska administration and some finely scripted contrition from Pelini:
Harvey Perlman, Chancellor:
"I am aware of the publication of Coach Pelini's comments, I am disappointed and in discussions with Shawn Eichorst about addressing the issue."
Shawn Eichorst, Director of Athletics:
"I am disheartened and disappointed by the 2011 comments published today attributed to Coach Pelini about our dedicated and passionate fans and supporters. I have spoken with Chancellor Perlman and I have addressed the situation with Bo and expressed our deep concern."
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini also issued the following statement:
"I want to sincerely apologize for my comments from two years ago which became public today. I take full responsibility for these comments. They were spoken in a private room following the Ohio State game. I was venting following a series of emotional events which led to this moment. That being said, these comments are in no way indicative of my true feelings. I love it here in Nebraska and feel fortunate to be associated with such a great University and fan base. I again apologize to anyone whom I have offended."
It's at this point in 24 where Jack Bauer would find some way to escape peril by beating up four terrorists at once using nothing but a nail clipper and his bare hands. I don't think our hero in this Pelini saga is nearly as cagey. More likely, this ends sometime down the road, probably in December, with a silent clock countdown to the end of the season.
That was always how 24 saluted a character that died, and right now Bo Pelini in Nebraska is on life support.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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