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Is Urban Meyer a legitimate candidate for the Nebraska opening?

In the wake of Scott Frost’s firing, Meyer speaks highly of Nebraska.

Big Ten Network analyst Urban Meyer looks on in action during the Big Ten Championship game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Northwestern Wildcats on December 19, 2020 at Lucas Oil stadium, in Indianapolis, IN. Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Update September 17 10:15 a.m. ET At least some fans of Nebraska have voiced their opinion that they want Meyer to be their head coach ahead of their game against Oklahoma.

As is bound to happen after a high-profile firing like the one we saw earlier this week at Nebraska (do we still get to celebrate Scott Frost Day after this?), the rumors are starting to fly as to who the replacement may be for the Cornhuskers’ long-suffering program.

One of the more interesting names that’s getting thrown out there is none other than former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. Meyer has been out of the college coaching game since 2018, with a failed stint and subsequent firing at the Jacksonville Jaguars as well as an analyst position at FOX Sports filling the time since then.

Who is in early consideration for the vacancy?

There are other names in the rumor mill too: Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Kansas’ Lance Leipold, Kentucky’s Mark Stoops, and NC State’s Dave Doeren are all potentially intrigued by a once-great program that needs plenty of help. It would be a challenge to convince a coach in the middle of even a semi-successful season to up and leave, whereas Meyer would be available immediately. At the moment, Mickey Joseph is stepping in as an interim head coach for the Huskers.

A Meyer hire, as we all know, brings plenty of baggage with it. From denying knowledge that an assistant coach was abusing his wife, to covering up illegal behavior during his time at the University of Florida, to the horrible reputation he developed in Jacksonville, there would be a lot that a university would need to force itself to overlook to justify a hire there.

But that justification could come in consistent wins, a dream that Nebraska has been desperately and unsuccessfully grasping at for over a decade. Meyer went 83-9 at Ohio State, and 65-15 at Florida. He may not be able to coach pros, but his style works at the college level.

Would he take the job?

Meyer has recently spoken positively about the University of Nebraska, saying, “Nebraska is one of the most unique fan bases I’ve ever experienced. One year, when I was the coach at Ohio State, I asked one of my guys that worked with me, I said ‘take me around a little bit. Let’s go incognito a little bit.’ I just wanted to walk around and I kind of did, you know? I put a hat on and just kind of was in disguise and I just wanted to watch this because I grew up watching Tom Osborne and watching Nebraska win national championships.

“I was a big fan and so the fan support is as good as there is in America,” he continued on the Big Ten Network. “They’re great fans too.”

Is he trying to subtly throw his hat in the ring there? Nebraska deeply wants to regain its glory days, and there are very few coaches who could make that a realistic possibility. He might be one of them, but Huskers fans have to ask — at what cost?

Nebraska will face the Oklahoma Sooners at home this weekend, with OU as the 11-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.