Sept. 16: Nebraska loses at home to NIU, the first MAC loss in Cornhuskers history.
Sept. 21: Athletic director Shawn Eichorst, the man who hired head coach Mike Riley, is fired. The school comes out and says this happened because the football team isn’t good enough.
Sept. 23: Riley’s Nebraska got in a battle with Rutgers, long considered the Big Ten’s worst program and a 1-2 team on the year so far.
After a pick-six from Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee to Rutgers’ Kiy Hester, complete with Husker-on-Husker friendly fire at the end, the score in the third quarter was 17-14, Scarlet Knights.
Lee threw two pick-sixes against NIU the week prior, and some boos rained down in Lincoln when he came back out for the next drive against Rutgers and orchestrated a three-and-out. Neither team was doing a whole lot on offense, with Nebraska averaging 4.2 yards per carry and Rutgers hitting 3.8.
The Huskers eventually pulled away, 27-17.
Anyway, it’s probably about time to start figuring out potential Nebraska hires. You know, in case a change needs to be made.
Hiring UCF’s Scott Frost would be a quest for upside. Frost’s demeanor is closer to Pelini’s than Riley’s, and we don’t know all we need to know about his ability to handle media scrutiny and the pressure of being the sure-thing favorite son. But it’s easy to make the case for hiring him, if he wants the job.
If Frost isn’t the guy, however, hiring Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo would be a quest for wins.
He wouldn’t threaten to recruit at a top-10 level, but he would put a sexy, familiar offense on the field. While we don’t know what his defenses would be like at a bigger school — his current 3-4, bend-don’t-break scheme arose from necessity, not preference — they would likely be decent enough to give the offense a chance to win nearly any game.
We know Nebraska probably won’t consider Niumatalolo. A new athletic director aiming to make a big splash is going to shoot for a blue-chipper, not an overachiever, and no matter how efficient the triple option is, recruiting will prevent an option master from getting a job this big.
But recruiting at a top-40 level and winning at a top-20 level, while led by a guy every bit as likable as Riley? There are worse fates than that.