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Gil Brandt: Bret Bielema turned down Nebraska job

Wednesday brought word that Nebraska had targeted Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema for the same job in Lincoln and was engaged in what was described as serious talks with him. Bielema subsequently sent out tweets to his Twitter account indicating that he was all-in on the Hogs.

A day later, NU stunned the college football world by announcing that it had poached Mike Riley from Oregon State as its replacement for the deposed Bo Pelini.

Apparently, though, there was more to the Bielema angle of the coaching search. Much, much more according to a very respected member of the football profession.

But wait, there’s more. From, which was the first -- and so far as we know the only -- website to report the Cornhuskers’ interest in Bielema prior to Brandt:

This morning we spoke with sources who tell us Bret checked with his connections who know the current atmosphere in Nebraska as well as anyone and was advised against taking the position.

If these reports are accurate, that means Riley was at least the Cornhuskers’ second choice. As it turns out, there was also at least one more name involved: Utah’s Kyle Whittingham.

On the same day that Bielema was reportedly offered the Nebraska job, NU athletic director Shawn Eichorst was visiting with Whittingham about the same job, per the Lincoln Journal Star.