Does the new Nebraska hire at Athletic Director mean that their head football coach is going to get a second chance? No one is going to be able to answer that question until Bill Moos makes the official announcement, but the Pac 12 connection between Moos and Riley might be enough to give the coach at least another season.

This isn’t because the Pac 12 is some old boys network that look out only for themselves. The reason Moos might give Riley more time is because he is uniquely suited to recognize when a program’s struggles are bigger than one or two bad seasons.

Moos knows Riley plenty well considering he’s spent more than a decade at schools that squared off against Riley.

Moos and his understanding of rebuilding a football program

Moos spent the last few years at Washington State, where he oversaw the resurgence of a moribund football program by hiring Mike Leach. The key here is that Mike Leach didn’t turn the Cougars back into one of the most feared programs in the Pac 12 overnight. In fact, Leach is just 35-35 at Wazzou. They started to be back last year. They are all the way back, despite a loss this weekend this year.

Could the length of time it took Leach to turn around Washington State be a factor when Moos is looking at mike riley and his situation?

There’s a chance. It helps that Moos does know Mike Riley and what he did at Oregon State.

Before Nebraska’s newest athletic director landed at Washington State, he spent 12 years at Oregon. More reason to think Moos knows, certainly more than anyone in Lincoln, just what Riley had to go through in order to build even the occasional winner he had with the Beavers.

The pressure on Nebraska football is going to be big

Moos also seems to understand what he has to do in order to build a sports program out of the ashes. Whether or not that means keeping coaches like Mike Riley and Tim Miles is still very much up in the air. The real question is just how much pressure Moos will be feeling and whether he’ll succumb to that pressure.

He’s clearly someone who has navigated an athletic department before. At the same time, he’s mostly taken over at schools where winning wasn’t an expectation but a nice surprise. Whether or not he understands the culture at Nebraska and what keeping Mike Riley will mean will unfold over the next couple of weeks and months. One thing to keep in mind, is that Moos not firing Riley immediately, doesn’t mean he’s going to be keeping his job once the season comes to an end.

Husker fans should take a wait and see, but the hiring of Moos could mean a surprise when it comes to the Nebraska football coaching outcome.