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Bo Pelini entered Friday needing a win against Iowa to assure himself of another season as the Huskers' head coach. While a loss to his team's designated Thanksgiving week rival wouldn't assure him of a termination, a 38-17 blowout loss coupled with multiple instances of Pelini's apparent quick temper could make his exit just a little bit more likely.
And while a terse halftime exchange with ESPN's sideline reporter followed by a personal foul for throwing his hat at an official do seem to fit that bill, those dustups only set the stage for Pelini's postgame. Here he is on that penalty:
And when discussion turned to his hot-seat status, Pelini remained fiery:
Pelini (still on job talk): "I believe in what I've done... this program is heading in a good direction." #Huskers— World-Herald Big Red (@OWHbigred) November 29, 2013
Pelini: "Its incredible what we've gone through...I told those kids 'You don't have to apologize to anybody" & gotta walk out with head high— World-Herald Big Red (@OWHbigred) November 29, 2013
Pelini: * If they want to fire me, go ahead. I believe in what I have done and I don't apologize for anything I have done." #Huskers— Josh Harvey (@JoshHarveyScout) November 29, 2013
All this from a coach who's biggest setback of the year before Friday was an unearthed audio recording of him ranting about fans after a 2011 game. That was defensible in context, especially since it looked to have been leaked by a disgruntled Nebraska fan, but in light of his other sideline blowups?
A loss in a big game is frustrating for any coach, especially one carrying the weight of a proud program's expectations. But if Pelini's letting his emotions flow this freely, it's easy to think he's sensing his time in Lincoln is nearly done anyway.
For what it's worth, players still have his back:
Kenny Bell with quote of the year: "I would play for Bo Pelini against Satan himself and a team of demons at the gates of the underworld."— Robin Washut (@RobinWashut) November 29, 2013
Sirles on if Bo should be back: "I sure hope so. I spent five years with this guy, and he made me the best man I can be."— Robin Washut (@RobinWashut) November 29, 2013