Nebraska Cornhuskers

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Scott Frost bests three playoff coaches for Eddie Robinson Award

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For the second time since the regular season ended, Scott Frost is on the receiving end of some coaching hardware.

For his work at UCF, the Football Writers Association of America announced Thursday that Frost has been named as the recipient of the 2017 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.  Frost, who was named as the new head coach at Nebraska upon the completion of the regular season, was also honored as the Home Depot Coach of the Year last week.

“Scott Frost is one of the up-and-coming coaches in college football,” said FWAA president Dave Jones in a statement. “What he did at UCF was nothing short of remarkable in just two seasons.”

Taking over a team that went 0-12 in 2015, Frost coached UCF to a 6-7 record last season.  This season, Frost has the 12th-ranked Knights sitting at 12-0 after winning the football program’s second outright AAC championship and earning the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six bowl bid.

After some initial uncertainty, it was confirmed earlier this week that Frost will coach UCF in its Peach Bowl matchup with Auburn.

There were seven other finalists for this year’s Robinson Award, including Bill Clark, UAB; Lane Kiffin, FAU; Jeff Monken, Army; Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma; Kirby Smart, Georgia; Dabo Swinney, Clemson; and Jeff Tedford, Fresno State.  Riley, Smart and Swinney all led their respective teams to this year’s College Football Playoff.

Two-time winner Dabo Swinney one of seven finalists for Bear Bryant coach award

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Not surprisingly, yet another coaching award has a decidedly familiar feel to it.

Wednesday, a group of seven finalists were announced for the 2017 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award, one of the nation’s top award for college football coaches. Named in honor of the Alabama legend, those seven finalists are:

  • Paul Chryst — Wisconsin
  • Clay Helton — USC
  • Scott Frost — Nebraska, for his work at UCF
  • Gus Malzahn — Auburn
  • Jeff Monken — Army
  • Kirby Smart — Georgia
  • Dabo Swinney — Clemson

Swinney is looking to become the first coach in the 32-year history of the award to win it three consecutive years, after becoming the first to win it in back-to-back years. In January of 2017, Swinney joined Boise State’s Chris Petersen (2006, 2009) as the only two-time winners.

In addition to Swinney, one other College Football Playoff semifinalist, Smart, is up for the honor.

Smart, Swinney, Helton and Frost all led their respective teams to conference championships, while Chryst and Malzahn made it to their league title game. Monken guided the service academy to its best season in over two decades and has the chance to, with a bowl win, become just the second Black Knights coach (Bob Sutton, 1996) to reach 10 wins in a single season.

Nebraska loads up on FCS cupcakes in future scheduling

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The future of Nebraska football is beginning to look a bit more optimistic with the recent hiring of Scott Frost. Time will tell just how many wins Nebraska will start racking up in Big Ten play under Frost, but Nebraska has made some moves to secure some likely wins in future seasons.

In a scheduling announcement on Wednesday, Nebraska has announced future games against two FCS opponents — South Dakota State and North Dakota — and Georgia Southern of the Sun Belt Conference. Nebraska will host South Dakota State in 2020, 2024, and 2028. North Dakota (NOT North Dakota State) will head to Lincoln in 2022 and 2026. Georgia Southern will occupy a spot on the non-conference schedule in 2022. Per Nebraska;

  • South Dakota State—Sept 12, 2020; Aug. 31, 2024; Sept. 9, 2028
  • North Dakota—Sept. 3, 2022; Sept. 19, 2026
  • Georgia Southern—Sept. 10, 2022

It is important to note Nebraska’s addition of South Dakota State and North Dakota no longer violates the Big Ten’s scheduling initiative to ban FCS opponents. That policy was revised to allow for the addition of these teams in years Big Ten teams only have four conference games scheduled at home (and five road games in conference play). Big Ten teams are still required to schedule a game against another power conference opponent or an approved opponent to satisfy the requirement, however. Nebraska is currently scheduled to play old Big 12 (and Big 8) rivals Oklahoma in 2021 and 2022 and Colorado in 2023 and 2024.Nebraska has also met the power conference scheduling requirement for 2026 (Tennessee) and 2028 (Arizona). Both games are part of home-and-home arrangements.

The 2022 season is an exception for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are scheduled to host South Dakota State, Central Michigan, and Cincinnati. The Big Ten has ruled Cincinnati to be an exception to the power conference scheduling for Nebraska. Nebraska originally scheduled a series with Cincinnati in 2013, prior to the Big Ten adopting its scheduling philosophy to increase the overall quality of strength of schedule across the conference.

‘If we can get it worked out,’ Nebraska’s Scott Frost will coach UCF in bowl game

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This is at least a mildly interesting development.

After Scott Frost led them to a perfect regular season and AAC championship, UCF earned the Group of Five’s bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl. In between the title win and bowl announcement, however, Frost was hired as the head coach at Nebraska. At the time, all of the sides involved indicated that Frost and his coaching staff, all of whom are following him to Lincoln, would be coaching the Knights in that bowl game.

“We have to figure out exactly how that plays out, but his mind is very focused on preparing this team — this whole staff is — to preparing our team to compete in the bowl,” Frost’s old boss, UCF athletic director Danny White, said last Saturday. “There’s nobody else that can do it. We can’t bring in new coaches and expect to be as competitive as we want to be.”

He deserves to coach ‘his team,’” Frost’s new boss, Nebraska’s Bill Moos, added.

Less than a week later, however, it appears whether Frost will finish what he started is up in the air.

“I want to,” Frost told al.com at the Home Depot College Football Awards show Thursday night. “We’re trying to work it out so both sides are happy with the arrangement. I had a special group of guys down there at UCF and I want to do everything I can for them.

“So if we can get it worked out, I want to give those guys the best shot to win a game against a really good team in the Peach Bowl.”

Thanks to changes in recruiting, Frost certainly has a tight schedule to navigate.

Frost and most of his staff — Troy Walters was named interim head coach and is overseeing day-to-day operations of the Knights — are recruiting for the Cornhuskers, and will continue to do so right up until the recruiting dead period starts Dec. 17.  Unlike in recent cycles, there’s an early signing period that starts on Dec. 20 and goes for 72 hours.  After that early signing period ends, there’ll be just a week or so left until No. 10 UCF takes on No. 7 Auburn in the Peach Bowl.

Fired by Nebraska, Mike Riley quickly returns to coaching… as assistant at Oregon State

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Not long after Mike Riley was fired as Nebraska’s head coach shortly after the end of the regular season, it was thought that, in some capacity, he could return from whence he came.  Today, that officially came to fruition.

In announcing members of his first coaching staff at Oregon State, Jonathan Smith revealed that Riley will join him as an assistant head coach with the Beavers.  Appropriately enough, Smith made the announcement via Twitter — with Riley’s reveal being the final slide in the presentation.

This will mark Riley’s third stint in Corvallis.  The first two, for a total of 14 seasons, were spent as OSU’s head coach, with Riley abruptly departing the Beavers and his 93-80 record to take over the Cornhuskers in December of 2014.  He was fired after going 19-19 in Lincoln.

The move is a brilliant masterstroke for Smith, who is embarking on his first head-coaching job at the FBS level — unless, of course, the Beavers struggle and the restless natives start calling for a third Riley run as OSU’s sideline boss.