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Scott Frost leaving UCF for Nebraska, where he’ll try to revive his alma mater’s team

2017’s hottest coaching candidate has found a familiar landing spot.

NCAA Football: Central Florida at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest fish of college football’s coaching carousel has landed at Nebraska, the school has announced.

After two seasons at UCF in which Scott Frost took the Knights to the best season in school history this year, Frost is leaving Orlando to take over his alma mater’s team. The Knights just won the AAC title over Memphis in a double OT thriller, and finish the season 12-0 before the bowl. Frost was a star quarterback for Nebraska in the ‘90s, long before his coaching career took off. He’ll replace Mike Riley, who was fired after going 19-19 in three years.

Why’s he in?

Frost has been the darling of the coaching circuit since his UCF Knights got off to a blistering start to 2017. Both Florida and Nebraska seemed to have their eyes set on Frost early in the cycle, and with no other real standout candidates on the coaching carousel, Frost’s name was as good a pick as any.

He pretty deftly handled the tough situation that is being very publicly courted by one school while still working at another. It’s a tough needle to thread, but Frost did it.

“I’m staying dialed in this week by doing my job,” Frost said. “We got a great game plan. We got to execute it. We can’t beat Memphis unless we have 100 percent attention on this game and this challenge.”

Was this the right move?

The results on the field speak for themselves. Frost’s offense is fast and furious and he’s brought a program that was 0-12 three years ago to an undefeated regular season and a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Frost’s offense will remind you a lot of Chip Kelly’s at Oregon. Frost’s been in a lot of systems, but credits his time with Kelly as his most formative coaching experience.

“I don’t think Chip Kelly gets enough credit for affecting college football,” Frost told SB Nation in an October interview. “You look back at when he started this offense. Everyone else was running something that looked more pro-style. Now, you look around the country and everyone’s running a version of spread. A lot of them are tempo, and a lot of the schemes that we are running back in ’07, ’08, and ’09, everybody’s running.”

The Huskers are hoping that this offense will run counter-culture to most of the conference enough that it allows Big Red to develop a recruiting niche that it sorely needs. Nebraska is the square peg in the Big Ten’s round hole of teams.

Were there other candidates?

This thing has been Frost or bust since seemingly the beginning of the season. Once former AD Shawn Eichorst was shown the door, it created a mandate for the new boss, Bill Moos, to turn over the football program if he saw fit. Former coach Mike Riley essentially coached an entire season while basically the entire fanbase openly courted Frost. Moos was very complimentary of Frost in early November.

For Nebraska, this is a no-brainer. You bring back a native son and a former star who gives you a unique schematic niche to occupy in college football.

Where was he before now?

Besides being a Nebraska alum and an Oregon assistant, Frost is well traveled. He has coaching influences from some very notable places.

While Frost’s college career ended in Husker red, it didn’t begin there. Frost initially spurned his hometown program and went to Stanford. After two years, he transferred to Lincoln. Throughout his career in college and the NFL, he played for Bill Walsh, Tom Osborne, Bill Parcells, Mike Tomlin, and Jon Gruden.

Frost had a five-year NFL career for four different teams. He GA’d at Kansas State and was a defensive assistant at Northern Iowa before landing at Oregon in 2009. From there, he took the UCF job in 2016.

But he is most notable for leading the Huskers to the split national championship in 1997. He’s won one as a player. Will he win one as a coach?