Nebraska fired Coach Bo Pelini on Sunday on the heels of a 9-3 campaign that included late-season losses to Wisconsin and Minnesota that dissolved the Cornhuskers' chances of playing in the Big Ten championship game.
Pelini's firing is effective immediately, Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst said in a statement.
"Earlier this morning, I informed Coach Bo Pelini of our decision to move forward in a new direction. Coach Pelini served our university admirably for seven years and led our football program’s transition to the Big Ten Conference. We wish Coach Pelini and his wonderful family all the best and thank him for his dedicated service to the university."
Pelini served as Nebraska head coach for seven seasons, compiling a 66-27 overall record and a 3-3 record in bowl games.
Pelini recorded at least nine wins in each of his seasons with the Cornhuskers. However, Nebraska, which has won five national titles in college football, including three from 1994-97, was never in the hunt for a championship under Pelini. The Cornhuskers have failed to win a conference title since 1999.
Nebraska started the season 8-1 and was tied at the top of the Big Ten West Division standings until it suffered a 59-24 blowout loss at Wisconsin on Nov. 15. The Cornhuskers then lost at home to Minnesota before closing out conference play Friday with a 37-34 overtime win over Iowa.
Nebraska later announced assistant coach Barney Cotton will serve as the team's interim coach for the remainder of the season.
Auburn fired defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson a day after the Tigers gave up 55 points and 539 yards in a loss to rival Alabama. The Tigers allowed an average of 483 yards and 39 points over its last six SEC games, losing four of them.
Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris reportedly will be the new head coach at SMU, which is 0-11 this season with one game left. Coach June Jones stepped down in September after two games; Tom Mason has served as interim coach.
Embattled Illinois Coach Tim Beckman will be back for 2015, Athletic Director Mike Thomas said. Beckman apparently secured his job with a 47-33 victory at Northwestern on Saturday that made the Illini (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten) bowl eligible. Illinois is 12-14 in three seasons under Beckman.
Alabama-Birmingham appears close to dropping football, with Sports Illustrated and USA Today reporting the school was taking steps to disband the financially and competitively troubled program this week.
Wire reports contributed to this story.