Jim Naveau: Nebraska pays price once again

Nebraska fired Scott Frost two games into his fifth season as its football coach on Sunday because his teams were much below average at winning games as often as Cornhuskers Nation expects.

In firing Frost, Nebraska made itself above average in another way. But it wasn’t a good way.

Interim head coach Mickey Joseph is the seventh football coach Nebraska has had since the 2000 season.

The average in the Big Ten, if you subtract the unusual longevity of Kirk Ferentz at Iowa and Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern, is 5.3 football coaches since 2000. Add Ferentz and Fitzgerald to the calculations and the average is 4.8.

Illinois is the only other Big Ten school to have seven football coaches in the current century. Here are the number of football coaches each Big Ten school has had since 2000:

7 — Nebraska and Illinois. 6 — Indiana, Maryland and Minnesota. 5 — Ohio State, Michigan State, Rutgers and Purdue. 4 — Wisconsin, Michigan and Penn State. 2 — Northwestern. 1 — Iowa.

Don’t cry for Frost. He will walk away with a $16 million buyout, something that has become sort of a tradition for Nebraska coaches.

A 2020 study by a group called Athletic Directors U said that between 2005 and 2020 no university in the country paid out more money on buyouts than Nebraska did to its fired coaches and administrators.

Nebraska has spent $50 million on buyouts. It will spend big money to replace Frost. It thinks it can attract a coach who can bring back the glory days of Tom Osborne in the 1990s and Bob Devaney in the 1970s.

Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff will be in Lincoln on Saturday when Nebraska plays Oklahoma. Do you think there might be some signs in the crowd asking Urban Meyer to consider a return to coaching?

Jim Naveau has covered local and high school sports for The Lima News since 1978 and Ohio State football since 1992. His OSU coverage appears in more than 30 newspapers. Naveau, a Miami University graduate, also worked at the Greenville Advocate and the Piqua Daily Call. He has seen every boys state basketball tournament since 1977. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0414.