College Football News May 6: Mike Riley Settles in at Nebraska


When new Nebraska head coach Mike Riley sent out the customary, vague welcome tweet to a new verbal commit Tuesday, it served as the semi-regular reminder I need that he is indeed gone from Oregon State.

Riley was the most tenured Pac-12 head coach, so for someone who covers the conference like myself, his absence is a bit jarring. The first teleconference call, held without him last week, wasn’t as friendly.

That’s not a knock on the rest of the Pac-12 coaches; Mike Riley is just an exceptionally nice person. And that’s a big reason Nebraska hired him, to serve as the proverbial palate cleanser to the hellfire and brimstone offered by predecessor Bo Pelini.

But because it’s Nebraska, Mike Riley will be expected to win, and win bigger than he did in his time at Oregon State.

Mike Riley and the New-Look State of Nebraska Football

Lindsay Schnell, Sports Illustrated

Lindsey Schnell, who covered Mike Riley in his time at Oregon State, went inside the coach’s transition at Nebraska for Sports Illustrated. It’s an illuminating read on the ultimate nice guy in college football, getting his first shot in a high-profile gig.

Riley succeeded at Oregon State, but the Beavers always lived in the shadow of the glitz and glamour — and Nike money — of rival Oregon.

With his first shot at a premier program, Riley has a unique opportunity. But how long the goodwill lasts will be dictated by the Cornhuskers’ results on the field.

Bo Pelini’s Youngstown State Contract Doesn’t Take Much Off Nebraska’s Plate

Brian Christopherson, Lincoln Journal Star

Speaking of Nebraska, former head coach Bo Pelini landed on his feet quickly, returning to his hometown to coach FCS Youngstown State. Despite the new gig, Pelini will still be getting a sizable portion of the nearly $8 million owed him in his buyout from Nebraska.

NFL Draft: No Easy Solution to the Problem of Early Entrants

Kevin Causey, The Student Section

Every year, the NFL draft is flooded with early entrants. And, every year, the question of how to keep those unprepared for the pro game in college arises.

Kevin Causey spotlights a number of either lowly drafted or undrafted prospects, like Houston’s Deontay Greenberry, Texas A&M’s Trey Williams and Maryland’s Stefon Diggs, who could have had monster seasons in the 2015 college slate — and ostensibly, improved their NFL draft as a result.

But consider returnees who negatively impact their draft stock, like former USC quarterback Matt Barkley.

Indeed, there’s no clear answer to solve the issue of too many underclassmen going pro and falling short, but Causey’s column examines the matter insightfully.