The internet blew up yesterday with a report out of Tennessee that Bo Pelini had "apparently reached out to Tennessee" as their coaching search flopped and floundered.
Note the apparently. And that the report is unattributed. For what it's worth, Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star looked into the rumors and found nothing to them. Take that for whatever it's worth.
If Pelini did reach out to Tennessee, Tennessee apparently wasn't interested. They've hired Butch Jones from Cincinnati. Over the last week, Jones apparently turned down offers from both Purdue and Colorado. Jones turning down Purdue to apparently go to Colorado surprised me; from my perspective, Purdue is a better job than Colorado unless the Buffaloes are going to tackle their structural issues. (Limitations on contracts for assistants, deep debt from firing their last three coaches, facilities, lack of fan interest, etc.) Turning down Purdue for Tennessee makes a lot more sense, which tells me that Jones has known that he was on Tennessee's radar for some time.
So what does this mean about Pelini? In my opinion, nothing except that the internet sometimes has good information, but also is a conduit for garbage. The Pelini-to-Tennessee story was pretty weak last week, and never went further than yesterday's "apparently" report.
Did Pelini reach out to Tennessee this week? I'm skeptical at best, unless he felt that Shawn Eichorst was putting off Steve Pederson-like vibes. In the wake of last Saturday's blowout loss, Pelini would be a tough sell to boosters. And any show of disloyalty to Nebraska would only serve to damage his reputation in Lincoln even further.
The more likely scenario? The classic telephone game, where a story gets repeated enough times that it shifts. As Tennessee's search floundered, I'm sure someone started throwing out names at random.
Who ya got? RT @brentdougherty: Volquest's Brice on UT list: Butch Jones, Rich Rodriguez, Kirby Smart, Bo Pellini & Butch Davis.— Clay Travis (@ClayTravisBGID) December 6, 2012
Names started getting thrown on a list, people started talking about them, and then "Tennessee might contact Bo Pelini" gets reversed to "Bo Pelini might contact Tennessee"...and boom. There was so much misinformation, rumor, and rampant speculation out there this week. Even the good reporters were having trouble getting things straight.
Believe it if you wish, but the evidence is pretty suspect if you ask me.