Nebraska fired its athletic director Monday, a move that comes under the heading: What took so long?
Steve Pederson was an arrogant, pompous blowhard who once said Nebraska would not surrender the Big 12 to Oklahoma and Texas. Under Pederson, Nebraska surrendered to Missouri (5-1) and Kansas (6-0), too.
He basically staked his job and reputation on hiring Bill Callahan. There were bad signs immediately when it took him 47 days to do it back in 2003. France capitulated to the Germans in less time, and it had a lot more at stake.
|Good things will happen to the Huskers by getting Tom Osborne involved in the program again. (Getty Images)|
Husker Nation is fractured and peeved. Fans were in such shock Saturday during the 45-14 loss to Oklahoma State, they couldn't even boo. Worse, they left in large numbers after a 38-0 halftime deficit.
Now comes the hard part: making things better again. In July, Pederson was doing such a good job that his contract was renewed. What happened between now and then? Basically the worst home loss in 49 years, a porous defense and an offense that reached its heyday under Bill Walsh. That's another way of saying the West Coast offense was effective 20 years ago. Not now.
There's no guarantee in this crazy, mixed-up football world that Nebraska can ever dominate again. Three teams have been at the top of the Associated Press Top 25 this month. Before that, a regular-season No. 1 hadn't lost since December 2003.
Kansas is the only undefeated team in the Big 12. South Florida is No. 2 in the country.
Right now, though, Nebraska would settle for stability.
Save them, Dr. Tom. Save them again.
There is one sure way to guide Nebraska back to prominence. Get Tom Osborne back with the university somehow. Preferably as athletic director -- be it interim or permanent. Maybe even as coach.
Right now one of the greatest coaches in history is a consultant at Creighton, 60 miles down the road. He's no longer a U.S. congressman, rather a 70-year-old lion in winter who used to make winters a lot more bearable in Nebraska.
Now is the time for Osborne because there really is no other option. Pederson was a disaster. The school can't afford to whiff again on a football coach. If there's one thing Osborne knows, its football. Well, really two things. Football and keeping his players on the football field. Lawrence Phillips is eternally grateful.