With Mike Riley’s Firing, What’s Next for Nebraska Football?
It was a swift end to a very long and painful football season for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and their fans.
Less than 24 hours after the Big Red (4-8) dropped a 56-14 decision at home to Iowa, clinching the first eight-loss season at Nebraska since 1957, head coach Mike Riley was out of a job; fired by new athletic director Bill Moos.
For Riley, he accomplished one of his goals in Lincoln, while falling well short of another. The veteran coach restored the integrity of the program, which had been battered and bruised on numerous occasions by former head coach Bo Pelini, who was fired after the 2014 season.
But while Riley did an admirable job of cleaning up Pelini's mess off the field, he never came close to duplicating what his predecessor accomplished on it. In seven seasons, Pelini never won fewer than nine games. Three times he won ten.
In three seasons, Riley (19-19) averaged fewer than six victories. His Huskers teams also posted the school's first two losing seasons in eight years, managing the fewest wins in a season (4 - 2017) since 1961.
But it wasn't just the number of losses, it was how the looked to Husker fans. Four defeats of 30 points or more in three seasons. Plus, head scratching losses to the likes of Purdue, Minnesota, Illinois, and Northern Illinois.
The search for a new coach in Lincoln is underway.
I talked with the 'Voice of the Huskers', Greg Sharpe, about Riley's departure and what's next for Nebraska football: