Once upon a time, Bo Pelini was the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team. The ill-tempered head coach led the team from 2007-2014. In his seven seasons in Lincoln, he went 66-27. He also led them to three conference championship games as a member of the Big 12 and Big Ten.
Even in those chances he took the team to the championship, he came close to winning. In 2009, they lost to Texas on a last second field goal. A win may have gotten them to the National Championship game against Alabama. They lost by only three to Oklahoma in the 2010 Big 12 Championship game.
He was fired by the school on Nov. 30, 2014 after a disappointing performance during the season. Six and a half years later, Pelini has a chance to win a football championship.
Bo Pelini’s Second Shot at Success
Pelini was hired by Youngstown State in 2015 to be their football head coach. Youngstown State is an FCS school.
In his first season as the team’s coach, the Penguins finished 5-6. Despite the losing season, the school decided to bring him back.
Pelini has led them to an 11-3 record in 2016. The three losses came to a DI West Virginia team, South Dakota State, and the five-time reigning champ North Dakota State.
He’s led the team to their first playoff appearance since 2006. It’s also their second since 2000. The great Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was their coach that year.
The Penguins have had a great run themselves. In the second round, they upset third-seeded Jacksonville State. They also upset second-seeded Eastern Washington. Both wins came on the road.
This team did one of the smartest things in school history in signing Pelini. They won at least nine games in all seven seasons he was there. When he was fired in 2014, quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr. knew Nebraska had made a mistake.
“Biggest mistake you ever made…Bo was the best coach I’ve ever had and I’ll always appreciate the things you taught me,” he tweeted out back in 2014.
Nebraska may be doing fine without Pelini, but they’re not in a title game like him and the Penguins are in.
Beat the Best to Be the Best
Youngstown State will take on James Madison in the FCS Championship game on Saturday at noon ET. This isn’t an average team they’re facing in James Madison, however.
The Dukes come into this game at 13-1. Their lone loss came to Mitch Trubisky and North Carolina. Their iconic win this season came in their last game.
James Madison went into the Fargo Dome in Fargo, ND to take on the five-time reigning champions in the FCS Semifinal. The Dukes came out of Fargo with a win. They upset the five-time FCS champion and ended their streak.
A win for Youngstown State over James Madison in the title game would be a very significant one. It would prove that the Penguins are now the best team in the FCS.
It would also give Bo Pelini a championship, something he came so close to at Nebraska. A win would finish his second shot at success.