The 2011 season marked the end of Year Four of the Bo Pelini Era. Let's see how his first four years stack up with those of the four coaches who preceded him: Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne, Frank Solich and Bill Callahan.
The categories used for this comparison are: overall record and winning percentage, bowl record, record versus top ten teams, conference record, number of double-digit losses, conference and/or division titles and final AP rankings.
EIGHT HEAD COACHES?
It must be noted that in 1962, Bob Devaney took over a Husker football program that in the previous 21 years averaged 3.4 wins a year, had just 3 winning seasons and went through 8 head coaches. And remember in Devaney's day, the regular seasons consisted of just 10 games. Osborne's first three teams played 11 and in 1976, they faced 12. Frank Solich twice had 11 and twice played 12. All four of Bo Pelini's teams had 12 game regular-season schedules.
When Tom Osborne succeeded Devaney in 1973, the Huskers were coming off two national championships in the previous three years.
And when Frank Solich took over for Osborne in 1998, Solich inherited a program that had won three national championships out of the previous four years and had an amazing 60-3 record from '93-'97.
Meahwhile, Bill Callahan took over a program in 2004 that had just come off a 10-3 season that included a bowl win over Michigan State.
THE DEFENSE WAS RESTED
And in 2008 when Bo Pelini succeeded Callahan, he inherited a 5-7 team whose defense ranked near the bottom in every category.
Also, Bo Pelini's 2011 team played in a new conference (the Big Ten) and faced 12 foes his teams had never played before.
FOUR FOR FOUR (POR FAVOR)
So let's see how Bo Pelini's first four years stack up.
Record and winning percentage
Bob Devaney (1962-1965) 38-6 (.8636)
Frank Solich (1998-2003) 42-9 (.8235)
Tom Osborne (1973-2007) 37-10 (.7755)
Bo Pelini 38-16 (2008-present) (.7037)
Callahan 27-22 (2004-2007) (.551)
Osborne 3-1 Wins: Cotton (Texas), Sugar (Florida), Bluebonnet (Texas Tech)
Devaney 2-2 Wins: Gotham (Miami), Orange (Auburn)
Solich 2-2 Wins: Fiesta (Tennessee), Alamo (Northwestern)
*Pelini 2-2 Wins: Gator (Clemson), Holiday (Arizona)
Callahan 1-1 Wins: Alamo (Michigan)
(*Does not include Bo's 2003 Alamo Bowl win when he was the interim HC.)
Record versus AP Top Ten teams
Solich 4-4 (.500)
Wins: #9 Washington, #5 K-State, #6 Tennessee, #2 Oklahoma
Losses: #2 K-State, #5 Arizona, #3 Oklahoma, #1 Miami
Devaney 2-3 (.400)
Wins: #6 Oklahoma, #5 Auburn
Losses: #10 Oklahoma, #2 Arkansas, #4 Alabama
Pelini 2-7 (.222)
Wins: #7 Missouri, #9 Michigan State
Losses: #4 Missouri, #7 Texas Tech, #4 Oklahoma, #3 Texas, #10 Oklahoma, #7 Wisconsin and #10 South Carolina
Osborne 1-5 (.167)
Wins: #9 Texas Tech
Losses: #3 Oklahoma, #1 Oklahoma, #7 Oklahoma, #7 Arizona State, #8 Oklahoma
Callahan 0-3 (.000)
Losses: #2 Oklahoma, #4 USC, #1 USC
Devaney 25-3 (.8928)
*Solich 26-7 (.7878)
Osborne 19-10 (.6551)
*Pelini 22-12 (.6470)
*Callahan 15-18 (.4545)
(*Includes conference championship games.)
Number of Division or Conference Titles
Devaney Division (N/A) Conference- (3)
Solich Division (1) Conference (1)
Osborne Division (N/A) Conference (T in 1975)
*Pelini Division (2) Conference (0)
Callahan Division (1) Conference (0)
(*Pelini's 2008 team tied Missouri for the North Division title, but didn't qualify for the Big 12 Conference championship due to a loss to the Tigers.)
Final AP Rankings
Osborne 7th, 7th, 9th, 9th
Devaney NR, 5th, 6th, 5th
Solich 19th, 3rd, 8th, 8th
Pelini NR, 14th, 20th, 24th
Callahan NR, 24th, NR, NR
JOEL MAKOVICKA AT THE OMAHA AUTO SHOW THIS SATURDAY!
Here's your chance to meet former Husker fullback Joel Makovicka (1995-1998) this Saturday afternoon (January 21st) at the Century Link (formerly Qwest) Center from noon to 3 p.m. in beautiful downtown Omaha, Nebraska. Joel will be signing autograhs near the Toyota area, and every 20 minutes there will be a drawing for a spiffy poster of Memorial Stadium. Be there or be square.
If you'd like to give me a piece of you mind, email me at HuskerDan@cox.net.