Scott Frost’s whiteness kept him employed for as long as it could. But, when you suck as bad as he did, even your “All-American” charm can’t save you.
The former Cornhusker — who started his career at Stanford — was supposed to have been the perfect fit to restore order at his alma mater. There was only one problem. Scott Frost the football coach can’t hold a candle to Scott Frost the football player.
While it doesn’t feel like it, 1997 was a long time ago — 25 years to be exact. This is why, despite the hype, it was probably hard to sell Nebraska to a generation of recruits that weren’t born the last time Nebraska was “Nebraska.” And even then, the Cornhuskers — led by Frost — used an old-school option offense to power them to a split national title with Michigan. But, even as good as Frost was that season, he wasn’t even a top 10 vote-getter for the Heisman that year.
So, how did the “Great White Hope” of Nebraska — and college football — turn into the “Great White Nope” in just five seasons?
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Because he was overrated as a coach from the start. Let me explain.
Frost had a losing record from the start. Ironically, it would foreshadow that every season he would coach — except one — would end similarly. But then, in 2017, Frost became the hottest prospect in the land when his UCF Knights caught lightning in a bottle and produced one of the most overrated seasons in college football history. After UCF destroyed teams in the “mighty” American Athletic Conference — as they didn’t play a ranked team until December — they won the conference title by surviving a double-overtime thriller against No. 20 Memphis before they knocked off No. 7 Auburn in the Peach Bowl to give them a perfect 13-0 record.
Then, one of the dumbest claims ever witnessed in sports occurred, as UCF took it upon themselves to name, themselves, as national champions, as if they were better than Alabama — who actually won the College Football Playoff National Championship that season — or Georgia, Oklahoma, and Clemson.
The illogical and insane fanbase at UCF actually thought they had the best football team in the country a year after going 6-7, and Frost was the bandleader. After announcing that he was leaving UCF to take the job at Nebraska, Frost showed up in the press box at the Alabama/Georgia national championship game like he was Ric Flair — sans robe. Everything about his aura that day screamed, “I’m the hottest coach in the land. Get to know me, sucker!”
Frost wasn’t The Nature Boy, he was more like Doink the Clown. His tenure at Nebraska went like this:
Under Frost, Nebraska was 5-22 in one-score games. In total, he was 16-31 at his alma mater, and his career record is even worse as it stands at 35-38. Nebraska wanted Frost gone so badly that it cost millions to be done with him, as he’s set to collect all $15 million of his buyout which would have fallen to $7.5 million if he was fired after Oct. 1.
“We owed it to the players to give them a different voice, perhaps slightly different vision,” Nebraska vice chancellor for athletics Trev Alberts wrote in a statement. “Give them some confidence, an opportunity. I know how disruptive these changes are, but we needed to inject something into this team to give them the confidence and hopefully help them compete. Nothing would please me more than to see a pretty significant change and help this team get over the hump and win some games.”
This is the part where I remind you that only Rutgers has a worse record than Nebraska since 2018, as the Cornhuskers are 16-31 during that span. The problem with the brass in Nebraska is that they think better days are coming, instead of accepting the fact that Nebraska will never be “Nebraska” again.
But, as we know, acceptance is a hard pill to swallow. And it’s probably why Marcus Freeman is in denial about being on the hot seat at Notre Dame. Freeman is 0-3 in his short time in South Bend, and it already feels like he’s on his way to becoming Tyrone Willingham 2.0, but without a 10-3 season to hang his hat on.
We already know the plight of Black coaches in football, and when you compound that with what Notre Dame has always been and who they’ll always be, Freeman should view Frost as an example of what not to be if he wants to keep his job. But, if he needs another example of someone who feels a “little more familiar,” just take a peek at what’s going on at Texas A&M. A recent stat showed us that Kevin Sumlin — a Black coach — was 36-14 in his first 50 games with the Aggies. Jimbo Fisher — A&M’s current white coach — is 35-15 in the same amount of games and just last year signed an extension that makes his contract worth $95 million through the end of his deal.
Read the room, Marcus Freeman. You aren’t Scott Frost. Because if a place like Nebraska is willing to pay an extra $7.5 million to get rid of their “Great White Hope,” just imagine how much Notre Dame would spend to get rid of you.