Last season Nebraska had a 4-8 season. Nowhere near good enough for Head Coach Mike Riley to keep his job. The search was on.
Meanwhile in the sunnier climes of Orlando Florida, Scott Frost was working a spell of magic at the University of Central Florida even good ol’ Walt Disney couldn’t have dreamed of.
UCF’s 2018 season was one of fairytales. Undefeated. However it was abruptly ended, in controversy, by a College Football Play Off Committee snubbing its nose at UCF’s body of work. Despite the undefeated season, no play off berth was granted and the Knights season was over. Well, save for a trip to the Peach Bowl, which I am sure they could have seen far enough.
Meanwhile the Nebraska search for a Head Coach swept South. Frost, a Cornhuskers alumni was atop their list.
But Frosty was being courted elsewhere. Nearly every team looking for a head coach seemed interested in the hottest property in the NCAA. Texas A&M, Tennessee even Florida wanted Frost. But his heart strings tugged north, back to Lincoln. The cornhusker was coming home.
Fast forward to the Big Ten media days. Frost did not disappoint. The only new hire in 14 teams, it was no wonder he was the centre of attention. It takes a lot to outshine Big Ten heavyweights, Jim Harbaugh, Urban Meyer and James Franklin. But the new boy came with a quiet confidence that made all in attendance sit up and take notice.
The question is. Is the new boy yet another pretender, or the new King of the Big Ten in waiting?
Opening games against Akron, Colorado and Troy will do little to tell of the progress Frosty’s team has made. He couldn’t have asked for a better start to his tenure. But, by the third week in September Michigan roll in to town followed by a road trip to Purdue, home to Wisconsin and then Northwestern, on the road to Minnesota (in October, ouch) and then Ohio State come to Lincoln. As they most likely never say in Lincoln, by that time – it is on like Donkey Kong.
Expectations are high but sentiment seems to sit around a successful season at the 6-6, 7-5 mark. It is a tough schedule. Maybe a bowl game? But make no bones about it, the pressure just builds from here. A winning season, followed by consolidation in season two and the Big Ten Championship in season three? Jeez, no pressure.
Frosty the Snowman or the Iceman Cometh? Time will tell. Roll on September 2.
Photo credit : Omaha.com