Mailbag: Pressure Situations
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Hot Reads: Scott Frost Makes a Top 25

May 23, 2018

You've got to start somewhere, right?

If you're starting a list of the best coaches in college football, you start with Nick Saban, Urban Meyer and Dabo Swinney (usually in that order). Nobody argues with that because there isn't much of an argument to make. Those are three of the four active coaches with national titles and their teams have made a combined nine out of a possible 12 College Football Playoff appearances.

Beyond the "Big Three," however, things get interesting. Jimbo Fisher, the other active coach with a national title, seems to have lost automatic-inclusion rights in the top four after going 7-6 last year and then leaving Florida State for Texas A&M. Beyond the Big Three, a person has to make some tough choices.

Stewart Mandel of The All-American made those tough choices in his latest ranking of the top 25 coaches in the game. And, yes, Scott Frost made the list at No. 25.

Remember I said at the top not to read too much into one season? If I did, I’d have Frost in the top 10 given his UCF team’s remarkable undefeated season last year, just two years removed from going winless. Check back in 2020 to see how far he’s climbed.

Frost's inclusion on the list won't surprise anyone locally, but when I started reading the list at No. 1 I wasn't sure he'd make the cut. The easy thing to do here is leave him off under the it's-too-early exception with a dash of Group of 5 bias.

But Mandel is good at what he does and understands Group of 5 success isn't automatically lesser. (Navy's Ken Niumatalolo and San Diego State's Rocky Long are both on the list.) And while Mandel has expressed some reservations about Nebraska's ceiling in the current era, he's plenty bullish on Frost as a coach.

"Chip [Kelly] is the 1A to Scott Frost at Nebraska as the No. 1, home-run hire of this past offseason," Mandel said recently on The Solid Verbal, a ranking he said came down to Frost's "fit" at Nebraska. Kelly, who chose UCLA over Florida, ranked ninth on Mandel's list of the 25 best coaches. Frost spent four seasons coaching alongside Kelly at Oregon. 

"The excitement is off the charts," Mandel continued. "I know several writers who went to Nebraska this spring and they said there's 40 or 50 reporters at every Nebraska practice. People cannot get enough about Scott Frost and the Huskers right now . . . He's going to give them an identity. They're going to be basically the Oregon of the Midwest."

The only thing I'll add to that is that "40 or 50" might be a slight exaggeration. More like 30 on most days. And they were there for Mike Riley's practices, too.

But, yes, the excitement is off the charts.

Here's Something That's Happening

Looks like we've got some special Scott Frost content coming to ESPN in the near future.

What's The Program and who is Eric Kapitulik? Some pretty interesting background on all of that here.

The Grab Bag

  • Interesting breakdown of Week 1 based on FPI.
  • Here's 330-pound Wisconsin nose tackle Olive Sagapolu doing a back flip.
  • Jon Wilner refutes some recent rumors, writing that there is "no chance" of Arizona and Arizona State jumping to the Big 12 in the immediate future.
  • ICYMI: Mike Babcock took a look back at the 1982 Orange Bowl between Nebraska and Clemson.

Today's Song of Today

 

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