Why Nebraska fans care about exciting Liberty-CCU finish

col-tbuzz (2)Lost amid the excitement of Saturday’s 15-14 barn-burner between Coastal Carolina and Liberty in the de facto Big South Conference championship game was another possible script that could have implications well beyond Conway, SC – like Lincoln, Nebraska.

Not only were Liberty’s Turner Gill and Coastal’s Joe Moglia battling for the outright Big South title, they may have been unwittingly positioning themselves for a job opportunity at the University of Nebraska, where both coaches have ties and support.

With Cornhuskers fans calling for coach Bo Pelini’s firing, Gill and Moglia are among the names being whispered as possible replacements. About the same time Gill’s Flames were blocking CCU’s potential game-winning field goal, Minnesota was stripping the ball from the arms of a Cornhusker who was inches away from scoring the go-ahead touchdown.

In fairness to both coaches, neither are openly entertaining such speculation, particularly with their teams gearing up for a run in the FCS playoffs. But you can’t blame Nebraska fans for mentioning their names as the next head Husker, especially after Saturday’s second straight meltdown by an 8-3 Cornhuskers team on the decline.

Pelini’s job hangs in the balance as his team head to Iowa for the season finale. He was retained after last year’s subpar season, in part because of the lack of available candidates as possible replacements. That’s not the case this season as Pelini’s program has shown little improvement and Gill and Moglia have hit high marks.

Gill, who played quarterback under Osbourne at Nebraska (Clemson fans remember him for helping them win the 1981 Orange Bowl and national title) and also served as an assistant at his alma mater before venturing off on his own coaching path. His success at Buffalo and now Liberty have some NU fans believing his is the right man for the job.

Moglia, who served as an unpaid volunteer assistant under Pelini and has close ties with Nebraska legend Tom Osbourne, led the Chants to the No. 1 ranking in FCS and was a blocked field goal away from an undefeated season. His success as a CEO obviously translates well to coaching, and his business background is huge for fundraising.

There are lots of good candidates out there this year, and probably lots of jobs once the postseason firings take place. Both coaches can expect to hear their names rumored about other jobs, which is a compliment to all they’ve accomplished at their current schools. Gill has the edge in experience, but Moglia’s tenure has been truly magical.

It’s no surprise that FBS schools will come calling, and it’s the nature of the beast for big-time schools steal from the little guys. The big question is whether Moglia would leave Coastal to take on an FBS program. He’s got incredible energy and enthusiasm for a guy in his 60s, and he’s never been one to back down from a challenge.

Nebraska might be one of the few FBS jobs Moglia would take given his history with the program, and there’s really nothing Coastal can do in terms of a big-money contract since Moglia is already a multi-millionaire. The best thing CCU fans can hope for is a championship run before Jo-Mo gets the call, or another narrow win for Gill to go to NU.

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