We have some thoughts about that as a Nebraska alumnus.
Urban Meyer was undefeated at Ohio State in his first year as head coach with the Buckeyes, continuing a record of quick successes stretching clear back to Meyer's Bowling Green, Utah and Florida days, so it can't just be the football talent available at any given school. It is also very much an issue of COACHING talent.
Brian Kelly took over at Notre Dame in 2010 and went undefeated in 2012 and the Fighting Irish are now in the BCS national championship game.
Nick Saban took over head coaching the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2007 and his 2009 Crimson Tide were national champions.
So how many years does a coach of national championship caliber need to get his team on the right track on the modern college football scene?
Champions have that extra something.
On a different level of assessing patience for the future, recruiting does not bide well for coming years. Patrick Runge wrote at the start of the 2012 season: Nebraska Football Recruiting: Don't Kid Yourselves, Fans, Huskers Must Do Better.
Rivals.com currently ranks the 2013 Nebraska 36th, although if the total number of recruits is not used as part of the measuring stick but only the average rating of the recruited players is taken, then Nebraska ranks 24th. Well, that is about where the Cornhuskers have been ranked in past years, just at the foot of the top 25, and it looks like that is where the Huskers will be staying. One is unlikely to have championship teams based on wishful thinking alone, walk-ons notwithstanding.
On the other hand, given the actual location of Lincoln, Nebraska on the football landscape and given the available recruiting base, the Huskers have done well to be where they are, producing good football teams in a sparsely populated area. Expecting national champions in Huskerland is illusory.
If we were the Nebraska Chancellor today, looking for an undiscovered potential coaching champion, and if the grass roots demanded a head coaching change, we might offer to retain Pelini as defensive coordinator, but would try to hire as a head coach a young man such as Glenn Caruso, although he might not take the job, surely being very loyal to "his current family" of players and coaches.
Caruso for his St. Thomas Division III team has expressed the right philosophy which should be adopted by the current Nebraska team and by future Husker teams:
“We don’t quit,” he said. “We don’t whine. And we never get embarrassed.”Now, THAT shows intuitive coaching and motivational talent, win or lose. Game plans and Xs and Os can never replace internal motivation.
When you have lost 70-31 to a team you beat earlier in the season, you were not rightly prepared, you did not give your all, and you gave up. You have quit, everyone is whining, and you have been embarrassed.
We hope that the present Husker team can regain some respect in the Georgia game, win or lose.
Don't quit. Don't whine. Don't get embarrassed.
That is far more important than winning. Besides, if you follow that philosophy, you will win your fair share. Guaranteed.
And should you lose, you can still hold your head up, which you have to be able to do, long after the game has been played.