Next Permanent Nebraska College Football Head Coach Odds
Dan Kilbridge | 6 mins
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Nebraska is going back to the drawing board.
The school fired coach Scott Frost this week after a 1-2 start with losses to Northwestern and Georgia State, a brutal start to a college football betting season in which Frost and everyone involved knew there wasn’t much wiggle room if he hoped to stick around Lincoln for another year.
This will be a big-time search for a big-time candidate with almost no budgetary restrictions. That’s the good news for the Cornhuskers. The bad news is this is quickly becoming one of the most undesirable jobs in the country, a behemoth brand desperate to turn things around. There will be championship expectations from day one, regardless of the fact that Nebraska hasn’t won more than five games in a given season since 2016.
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The Cornhuskers decided they could do better than 9-10 wins a year under Bo Pelini and got greedy, moving things around to get to ‘the next level.’ They’ve paid the price ever since. Frost seemed like the home run hire, a former player coming off an unbeaten season with UCF as one of the hottest names in the country. It was an absolute disaster and now the pressure is on for the Cornhuskers, who can’t afford to screw it up again.
Next Nebraska Head Coach Odds
Nebraska’s wish list is surely ambitious. They have the funding, facilities and history to make those offers with a straight face. But the talent is lacking, recruiting can be a real chore in Lincoln, and the Cornhuskers leadership still sees this as one of the best brands in the country, one that should compete for titles annually.
At least Nebraska didn’t waste any time pulling the plug on Frost in 2022, giving the Cornhuskers the early jump on top candidates across the country.
Odds above are projected and were created by our Bookies.com Senior College Football handicapper Dan Kilbridge. They do not reflect odds that may be available on legal betting apps.
Atop our college football odds board, Iowa State coach Matt Campbell seems like the perfect balance as a guy Nebraska realistically wants and a guy they could realistically get. The Cyclones coach faced a huge rebuild when he arrived in 2016, and they’ve been moving in the right direction ever since a 3-9 campaign in Year 1. After a great four-year stint at Toledo and now an established winner at Iowa State, Campbell’s stock is high and a school like Nebraska would be the logical next step in his career progression.
Kansas coach Lance Leipold fits the same bill as a realistic option. The rebuild was so daunting that a 2-10 campaign with noted improvements was deemed a success in 2021, and the Jayhawks are now 2-0 to start the year with a highly-impressive win over West Virginia. He’s spent time at Nebraska as an assistant and knows the area well, and he could gain serious momentum in coming weeks if Kansas continues to exceed expectations.
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While Mark Stoops could certainly be higher on Nebraska’s list, the Kentucky coach might not see a reason to leave for a program like this with so much heavy lifting required. He’s already done that in building the Wildcats into a frisky SEC contender and seems happy in Lexington, which is why he’s not one of our two favorites for the gig. We’ve given the Huskers equal odds of landing Stoops as they do of retaining interim coach Mickey Joseph.
Joseph played quarterback at Nebraska during the glory days of the Tom Osborne era, and he gets the first crack at the job. If the Cornhuskers play hard for Joseph the rest of the way and turn the season around it could be hard for Nebraska to move on.
We’re also seeing the usual suspects – Luke Fickell, Bill O’Brien, Urban Meyer – thrown around on hot lists, as they are almost every time a new gig opens up. Fickell is certainly an intriguing guy, but he’ll have his pick of jobs each offseason as long as Cincinnati keeps winning and this might not be the best opportunity long-term. As for Meyer, Nebraska is certainly one of the few schools with enough dough to get his attention. Would he be willing to give up the spot in the broadcast booth for such a massive undertaking? It’s possible, but the offer would have to be unheard of.
Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard has also been a hot name in both college and NFL circles. The Green Bay Packers offered him the defensive coordinator position last winter and he declined, with most figuring he’ll be a head coach soon enough. The problem is Nebraska seems intent on hiring someone with prior head coaching experience, and the 39-year-old might be a little too green.
As for the NFL, Panthers coach Matt Rhule is the most popular name in the mix. He has not thrived in Carolina after the stellar rebuild at Baylor and could decide the pro ranks just aren’t for him – especially if the Panthers can’t turn things around off five straight losing seasons.