Nebraska shocked the college football world Thursday, suddenly announcing the hire of longtime Oregon State head coach Mike Riley. Riley replaces Bo Pelini, who was fired after a 67-27 record in seven seasons with the Cornhuskers.
Riley, 61, has been with Oregon State since 2003, following a stint in 1997 and 1998. His teams made eight bowl games in 14 years with four ranked finishes. He's the winningest coach in the history of OSU, which is not an easy place to win. His staff already capably recruits Texas, which is one market Nebraska needs to get back into after moving to the Big Ten.
However, Pelini was often criticized for being unable to clear the four-loss hump with the Cornhuskers. Riley has lost four or more games every year in Corvallis since 2003. Pelini was also criticized for being unable to win big games. Riley is 4-21 against top 10 teams and 14-41 against top 25 teams in his career.
Oregon State went 5-7 this season, missing a bowl game for the first time since 2011 and resulting in a debate as to whether he should be on the hot seat. Nebraska went 9-3, tying for second place in the Big Ten West.
Riley was not one of the seven candidates listed by Vegas in their odds for the position. Former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost, now the offensive coordinator at Oregon (Riley's now former rival), was considered the favorite.
Heard #Nebraska was determined to hire a "really good guy who ppl in the community would like" well, Mike Riley is that. Otherwise, stunning— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 4, 2014