I love the endless speculation that goes on during college football’s coaching carousel. So much drama! Most of it poorly sourced (e.g., articles citing fan forums and random people’s twitter accounts)!
With Florida (allegedly) going with Dan Mullen, I wonder if this sets up Scott Frost to make a triumphant return to Nebraska, possibly bringing Nebraska back to national prominence? I doubt the latter part, but Frost in Nebraska could be fun. I loved those Nebraska teams in the ‘90s with the option offense, but those days are long gone. I’m not sure if Frost is a great coach or not, but UCF has done well under him and their game against USF was easily the season’s best. Schiano did some impressive things with Rutgers back in the day, but I believe he had some player abuse allegations which is probably not the best look for Tennessee coming off the Butch Jones era.
Nebraska and Tennessee are almost mirror images of each other: both elite in the ‘90s through early 2000s, followed by a long period of mediocrity (or worse in Tennessee’s case), both have recruiting issues since neither are in talent-rich areas (doubly so for Nebraska since at least Tennessee’s close to Georgia and Florida), both have rampant (or toxic) fanbases that feel they deserve more, and so on. Even though Tennessee has more money and resources, Nebraska seems more likely to return to something close to what they were, but I doubt either compete consistently at an elite level again. Especially since doing so would require them to win conference championship games against teams from a stronger division.
The number of truly elite college football teams has shrunk considerably in the past decade or so, maybe to fewer than a dozen. Nebraska and Tennessee have illustrious histories and lots of money (less so in Nebraska’s case), but that’s not enough anymore. Tennessee fans might be disappointed with the Schiano hire, but UTenn is not the kind of program that can make homerun hires these days. Realistically, who else is left that fits that descriptor and would opt for Tennessee over Florida, or maybe even over Texas A&M? (For the record, I don’t buy Gruden as a college coach for a second and am flummoxed at the obsession with him. They’re probably better off with Schiano, even if he is a sleaze. I am also skeptical of Chip Kelly at UCLA, but less so since at least he’s coached in the past decade.)