It got “silly” quickly on Sunday. The first day after the regular season ends (more or less) in college football is always a little bit messy as coaches are fired, ADs explains those decisions and the rumors change by the hour. But 2017’s version, thanks to Tennessee fans, may have set the bar for pure insanity.
Before we get to Tennessee’s about-face, there were a few other changes that are simply what they are (no sticky ethical questions): Florida hired Dan Mullen, Ole Miss removed the interim tag from Matt Luke, Texas A&M fired Kevin Sumlin and Arizona State jumped into the fray as well, firing Todd Graham. After all that, the list of Power 5 schools with an opening sat at seven : Nebraska, Arizona State, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Oregon State, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
So was all that shuffling good news for Nebraska and it’s coaching search? Pat Forde of Yahoo thought so, naming the Huskers as one of the “winners” from Sunday:
Another school that appears to have outmaneuvered Florida for the coach it wanted. When the Gators couldn’t land Central Florida’s Scott Frost, it spiked the speculation that Frost would come home to his alma mater and try to resurrect the Cornhuskers. If athletic director Bill Moos can close the deal — likely not until after undefeated UCF plays in the American Athletic Conference championship game — it will be an adrenaline boost the program hasn’t enjoyed since the 1990s.
You’ll get no disagreement from me. Florida picking Mullen eliminated Nebraska’s biggest competition for Frost to this point. Now a couple of other big dominoes could fall this week — one in Tallahassee in particular – that could change the game a bit, so it’s not like all other suitors are off the board at this point. Some potential suitors don’t even exist yet. But Nebraska is in a good spot if Frost is, as its fan base hopes, the Huskers’ top target.
And while some have been willing to draw comparisons between Husker fans’ fervor for Frost to what happened in Knoxville, where Jon Gruden is far and away the people’s choice, I don’t see a link. Yesterday wasn’t about not getting Gruden, it was about the perceived value of Greg Schiano and it just happened to come with an ugly but only alleged out-clause for fans. They definitely used it.
Forde didn’t pull any punches when tabbing the Vols a “loser” on Sunday’s spin of the carousel:
You people are ridiculous. Not all of you, but the delusional loudmouths who somehow think a program with a 62-63 record over the last decade is too good for Schiano. The internet vigilantes who want to bully their way into running the school’s coaching search. The piling-on politicians. The protestors. The rock painters. The rubes who still are waiting for Jon Gruden to slide down the chimney.
But the worst among the Tennessee lunatic fringe are the disingenuous liars who say this Schiano backlash is about Mike McQueary’s testimony regarding Jerry Sandusky and things that happened at Penn State, when in reality it’s because they don’t think Schiano is going to win a Southeastern Conference title. Don’t go getting righteously indignant when this has nothing to do with being righteous and everything to do with trying to beat Georgia.
Ruthless, but in my opinion not unfounded. I’m in Forde’s camp here.
If this is how things are going to go, maybe we need to retire the “silly season” nickname. It’s much more serious than that.
The Grab Bag
- ICYMI: The NCAA Tournament selection committee did Nebraska volleyball wrong with a 5-seed, but it won't faze the Huskers. Also, Cody Nagel looks at Frost's résumé compared to previous P5 hires, and Greg Smith lists the recruiting lessons learned from the Mike Riley era.
- Sports Illustrated's legal expert Michael McCann evaluates the claims Schiano might have against Tennessee for yesterday's fiasco.
- Mark Schlabach of ESPN writes that the craziness is just beginning with this fire-and-hire cycle. I hope he's wrong about that.
- Nebrasketball beat Long Beach State yesterday to take fifth place in the AdvoCare Invitational.
Today's Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.