Still reeling from Scott Frost’s failed tenure in Lincoln, which ended with a loss to Georgia Southern last week (continuing the Sun Belt’s improbable rise to power), it’s been a while since Nebraska was any kind of relevant, last reaching a bowl game in 2016. Seeking a savior to restore them to their former glory, Nebraska’s desperation was evident Saturday with fans clamoring for three-time National Champion Urban Meyer, conveniently overlooking his recent failures including a scandal-plagued stint in the NFL, ending in disgrace last fall.
Problematic as Meyer may be, fostering a decidedly hostile work environment in Jacksonville while embarrassing the team and organization with his questionable off-field behavior, his name, for better or worse, still carries significant weight, synonymous with two of the most storied programs in college football. Meyer, who now serves as a studio analyst for Fox Sports, has already alluded to his interest in Nebraska, expressing his admiration for former coach Tom Osborne while praising their devoted fan base, sticking with the Cornhuskers through thick and thin.
“Nebraska is one of the most unique fan bases I’ve ever experienced,” Meyer told Big Ten Network earlier this week. “One year when I was the coach at Ohio State, I asked one of the guys that worked with me, I said, ‘Take me around, go incognito a little bit.’ I just wanted to walk around and I kind of did. I put a hat on and was in disguise. I just wanted to watch because I grew up watching Tom Osborne and watching Nebraska win national championships. I was a big fan. The fan support is as good as there is in America. They’re great fans. They’re there all the way to the end. They’re as courteous fans as you could imagine.”
Losers of 16 straight against ranked opponents, Nebraska is quite the fixer-upper. That might be a tough sell for Meyer, who, under similar circumstances in Jacksonville, proved extremely impatient, wrongly assuming he could transform the Jags into overnight contenders. Of course, that’s assuming Nebraska is even interested, no sure thing after seeing Meyer flame out in spectacular fashion, burning every last bridge on his way out of Jacksonville. Meyer’s checkered past makes him a risky hire, leaving Nebraska to decide whether his track record as a proven winner and one of the most successful college coaches of his era outweighs his baggage as an egotistical tyrant who routinely leaves programs in shambles.