The stakes go way beyond bowl eligibility when the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Colorado Buffaloes play their annual grudge match today.
Only interim athletic director Tom Osborne knows for sure if this is Bill Callahan's last game as Nebraska's coach. What is certain is that if the Buffs win, the Cornhuskers' season is over.
That also would make Colorado bowl-eligible just a year after going 2-10 in Dan Hawkins's inaugural season as coach.
Both teams are 5-6 and need a victory to avoid staying at home for the holidays.
The Buffaloes are aiming to avoid consecutive losing seasons for the first time in 22 years.
The Cornhuskers are hoping for their 38th trip to a bowl game in 39 seasons despite a five-game skid that put Callahan's job in peril.
Callahan is scheduled to meet tomorrow with Osborne, who has given no indication which way he's leaning.
"No disrespect, but we're just focused on Colorado," Callahan said. But he's given his players notice that change could be coming, receiver Todd Peterson said.
"Basically, they've just told us that this is a business and it's about putting a product out on the field," Peterson said. "And when you put the product we've put out this year, eventually there are going to be some changes. Whether it will be this year, we don't know."
Colorado linebacker Jordon Dizon, one of the nation's top tacklers, knows exactly what the Huskers are going through, having experienced Gary Barnett's fade into firing in 2005.
"I can kind of put myself in their shoes. Two years ago when we were hearing that Coach Barnett was going to get fired we all started playing harder, trying to keep him around, and I can only see what they're doing," Dizon said. "And that is trying to keep him around because he is pretty much their father away from home and they are going keep him around as long as possible."