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Posted on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 1:33 p.m.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, an Ohio State grad, says he holds no ill-will toward Michigan

By Nick Baumgardner


Nebraska football coach on Michigan: Having been through all those games, and that rivalry, anytime you play Michigan you know you're going to be challenged.

Associated Press

If ever there were a candidate to be a Michigan-hater, it might be Nebraska coach Bo Pelini.

A Youngstown, Ohio, native, Pelini played at Ohio State from 1987-90, giving him two possible predispositions to dislike everything about the Michigan football program.

But Pelini, who will bring his Cornhuskers into Michigan Stadium on Saturday (noon, ESPN), isn't your average Ohioan.

"Growing up (in Ohio) I watched football like everyone else, but I wouldn't say I had venom for Michigan," Pelini said Tuesday while on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. "I actually visited Michigan (as a player)."

A four-year letterwinner at Ohio State, Pelini played one season for Earle Bruce and three for John Cooper. During his time with the Buckeyes, he was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a senior co-captain in 1990.

Against Michigan, though, Pelini didn't fare so well.

After the Buckeyes knocked off Michigan in Ann Arbor during his freshman season of 1987, OSU dropped the next three matchups of his playing career, including a pair of losses in Columbus.

Pelini is extremely familiar with Wolverine lore.

"You go to Ohio State, and it was such a tremendous rivalry and that game, obviously, took on a lot of extra meaning because it meant so much each and every year," Pelini said. "But I have a lot of respect for their program and what they do, and the history there.

"That's part of the deal. Having been through all those games, and that rivalry, anytime you play Michigan you know you're going to be challenged, and it's going to be a heck of an environment."

Pelini is also familiar with the Wolverines' present. Especially considering how similar his squad resembles Brady Hoke's current Michigan group.

Like Michigan with Denard Robinson, Nebraska has a quarterback in Taylor Martinez that's known more for his feet than his arm. And like Michigan with Fitz Toussaint, Nebraska has a downhill running back in Rex Burkhead who has excelled recently in the power run game.

And, of course, both programs put a high emphasis on defense.

"There are some similarities," Pelini said. "They do a lot of things that give you problems, it's a well thought-out scheme."

Pelini won't need a map to get to Michigan Stadium on Saturday, and he won't need an extensive scouting report on how to stop the Wolverines.

Asked if he had a favorite memory of playing against Michigan in the past, Pelini said no, they were all pretty special.

And more than likely, that sentiment will hold true again this weekend.

"They've got great fans," Pelini said. "It's going to be a hostile environment and one where we're going to need to come out and play well."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.


Trevor Stewart

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

Most "sane Husker fans" realize that this game is going to be a challenge. We are very much looking forward to it. Justed wanted to point out the 'ss' is obviously NOT a Husker fan. His use of 'UN' to describe our university is a dead give away as we are not, never have been, and never will be a "member" of the United Nations. Nice try though! Here's to a good B1G game Wolverines!

Trevor Stewart

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

Ooops...make that trigg7...sorry 'ss'...


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:01 a.m.

I will be routing very hard against Michigan this weekend and the following one. Go STATE, Nebraska, and OSU!


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 2:50 a.m.

Man, that photo you selected for this article is pretty inflammatory. He might get fired up on the sidelines sometimes, but Pelini seems like a pretty good guy and good coach to me.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 1:38 a.m.

Say it ain't so, Bo! Get mad! Stalk the sidelines like a caged animal. Growl across the field at Michigan. I'd LOVE to see this Michigan-Nebraska game turn into a regular -- and heated -- rivalry. Not dirty ... just good, hard-fought, let-the-best-team-win type of thing ... year after year. Pelini is an emotional guy, but he seems to be well grounded and passionate about the game. Ditto Hoke. Are we looking at the start of a nice 10-year war here? :-)


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 1:37 a.m.

Why would Nebraska have a QB that can run? Don't they know that you're not supposed to have a running QB in the Big Ten? Obviously Nebraska will never win a championship with that type of philosophy! He better stay in Nebraska because he would be skewered if he coached that way in AA.


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 9:50 p.m.

....Trigg7 ....get ready to EAT YOUR HAT ! ...your corn will he husked.


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

You joking, UM goes down by 15+ Have to throw to win, and we know that isnt going hapen. UN will easly stop the get ready for those jump balls DR throws.


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

Sorry to be dense, but what does B1G stand for? I get that it refers to the Big Ten, and I see it used all the time, but I can't figure out what each character is an abbreviation of. Thanks.


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 9:40 p.m.

Here's the detail you're looking for from the horses mounth: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 9:05 p.m.

If you look carefully, you will see that the 1 and the G are a different color than the B. That's because the 1 does double duty as an I and the G doubles as a 0 (zero). So, you have B - I - G where the I and G can also be seen as a 1 and 0, or ten.


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.

@Lolly, Not sure myself. I think the 'B' and the 'G' simply refer to 'Big Ten.' The 1 is used by it's lonesome, since it wouldn't look quite right using '12.' Coming up with acronyms for the conference name has been problematic since they increased to 11 teams some 20 years ago with the addition of Penn State, while at the same time insisting on continued use of the Big Ten marketing tag. Also, B1G probably could be the same acronym used if and when the conference further expands to 14 or 16 teams. I know -- seems rather awkward to me, too.


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

Nebraska is a class act, and a welcome addition to the B1G. Pelini did a great job turning that program around a few years back. Here's hoping Brady Hoke can do the same thing here. GO BLUE!!!

jeff blue

Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.

NICK, VERY GOOD ARTICLE. Pelini is right on with everything that he said. Michigan is at home and is favored to win. The only way that Nebraska can win this game is to play perfect football -- ie no turnovers, and that will be hard to do. I am really looking forward to a great game that puts Michigan football back to where it should be!! JEFF


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 6:54 p.m.

maybe we need to latch the hatch and play the game.