First off I want to state that I am in no way stating that Pelini will or should be fired following this season. This list is merely a research of who Nebraska could look at to replace him should a change occur.
I've broken the list down into three catagories: current college HC's. current college assistants, and dark horse guys who don't fall into either catagory.
These not in any particular order.
Al Golden, Miami 2011-, 10-8.
Charlie Strong, Louisville 2010-, 20-13
Butch Jones, Cincinnati, 2010-, 18-11
Darrell Hazell, Kent St., 2011-, 10-8
Chris Petersen, Boise St., 2006-, 77-7
Petersen is probably a long shot. He has a good thing going at Boise St. and we would have to blow his current $2M salary out of the water. Golden is a solid coach and is familar with our new AD. He may want out because he knows Miami is going to get hit hard with sanctions soon. Strong has a very good resume and is building a solid team at Louisville. Hazell isn't high on my list but is on it. He's turning things around at Kent St. and before that he was the asst. HC/WR coach at Ohio St. Jones is interesting. He's been working his way up the ladder starting at Western Michigan before moving on to Cincinnati.
Kirby Smart, DC Alabama.
Bud Foster, DC Virginia Tech
Josh Heupel, OC Oklahoma
Shawn Watson, OC Louisville
Dark Horse or in the NFL
John Gruden, analyst
Greg Roman, DC San Francisco 49ers
This is a very short list but Nebraska has to hire someone with some name recognition. Petersen is going to be everyone's top choice but I'm not sure he would leave Boise St. Golden would not be a bad HC but a lot of people don't want him. Smart and Foster would be good choices each learning under a solid HC but Foster is probably the HC in waiting at Virginia Tech. Heupel probably needs to start small and work his way up and people are going to blow up when they see Watson's name, but the guys offenses weren't bad.