Pelini dismisses job speculation; Ferentz comes up empty again

Chad Leistikow

Bo Pelini yells from the sidelines during Friday’s victory over Iowa. Pelini’s Cornhuskers improved to 9-3 and 5-3 in the Big Ten Conference.

IOWA CITY, Ia. – By the end of Friday's wild game in Kinnick Stadium, Nebraska's Bo Pelini was a nine-win coach again, and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz was left to try to explain 7-5.

Pelini's coaching future appeared to be on life support as his team trailed by 17 points in the third quarter. A fourth quarter and an overtime later, Pelini walked off the field a winner, 37-34.

Pelini has won nine games – but never more than 10 – in each of his seven years the helm in Lincoln. After ending a 9-3 regular season, he was not in the mood to entertain speculation about the prospects of an eighth year.

"I don't get into that. I could care less," Pelini said. "I know what we have going. People can make their deductions any way they want, and they're going to say whatever they want. I could care less."

Nebraska likely swiped a more prestigious bowl away from Iowa in the process. The Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl in San Diego seemed the logical landing spot for Saturday's winner.

Meanwhile, Iowa will finish fourth in the Big Ten's West Division. Before last week's 26-24 home loss to Wisconsin, there was hope the Hawkeyes could represent the West in the Big Ten championship game.

In his postgame remarks, Ferentz said the goal every year is to win a Big Ten championship. Iowa's last share of a Big Ten title was in 2004.

"That's our goal," Ferentz said. "We're not going to back down from that."

How close is the program now, after a season in which the best win was against Northwestern?

"It's probably a little closer than anybody thinks, but there's also distance in there," Ferentz said. "The years we have won it, things really have to fall right."