The Tigers were ranked seventh before beating Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference championship game last Saturday in Atlanta. When then top-ranked Missouri and second-ranked West Virginia both lost games over the weekend, LSU (11-2) leapfrogged five teams in the BCS Rankings for the chance to meet Ohio State Jan. 7 for the national championship in New Orleans.
"For the last two days, I have been totally focused on getting our coaching staff in place and our recruiting efforts as streamlined as possible," Pelini said. "(LSU Head Coach) Les Miles has asked me to coordinate his defense in the national championship game, but before saying yes, I wanted to make sure it would not interfere with what we're trying to get done at Nebraska and also make sure that it had Coach Osborne's approval."
In giving his support, Osborne knows that the game is particularly meaningful to Pelini because he was a standout free safety at Ohio State from 1987 to 1990 and earned four letters for the Buckeyes. Coached by Earle Bruce in his first season and by John Cooper in his final three seasons at Ohio State, Pelini was a three-time selection to the Academic All-Big Ten team. As a senior co-captain, he received the "Bo Rein Award", given annually to the Buckeyes' most inspirational player.