Sep 3, 2022; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell during the second quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

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Take 5: Nebraska coaching candidates to replace Scott Frost

How desirable the Nebraska football job is will be a point of debate following the firing of Scott Frost on Sunday.

The answer may well be determined by who the Cornhuskers are able to lure to Lincoln, Neb.

Frost was let go after a 1-2 start to the season, including a home loss to Georgia Southern on Saturday. That dropped Frost’s record to 16-31 at his alma mater.

Athletic director Trev Alberts said the search for Frost’s replacement will begin “immediately,” and Nebraska gets a head start on that process.

Five early candidates:

Luke Fickell, Cincinnati head coach
Fickell’s name has surfaced with most every coaching vacancy at a Power 5 program over the past few years. He has turned down every overture thus far but Nebraska could be a compelling option for the Columbus, Ohio native who played for Ohio State.

However, Fickell has already turned down Michigan State and may not be interested in a Big Ten job other than the Buckeyes. He also said no to Notre Dame.

Matt Campbell, Iowa State head coach
Campbell has turned the Cyclones into a consistent contender in the Big 12 and, like Fickell, has turned down several opportunities to interview with larger Power 5 programs.

Nebraska has the tradition and the deep pocketbooks that may pique Campbell’s interest level, and leaving Ames now might be more appealing with the future makeup of the Big 12 a major question mark. He has strung together five consecutive winning seasons with the Cyclones.

Mark Stoops, Kentucky head coach
Stoops is fresh off a big victory over Florida and has the Wildcats ranked in the top 20 despite being without his leading rusher to start the season. He has built a very respectable program in the SEC East that has posted a pair of 10-win campaigns in the past six years, but Stoops might see an easier path to sustained success in the Big Ten West.

Stoops, who is 12-3 since the start of last season, did sign an extension through 2028.

Dave Aranda, Baylor head coach
Aranda served as Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator from 2013-15 before moving on to the same role with LSU from 2016-19. He led the Bears to the Big 12 championship in only his second season and signed an extension through 2029.

Matt Rhule, Carolina Panthers head coach
Rhule entered the NFL season on the hot seat after compiling a 10-23 record through his first two years. He is a proven program builder at the college level, taking a Temple team that won only two games in his first year to consecutive 10-win seasons just two years later.

Rhule then did the same at Baylor, leading the Bears to an 11-3 record in 2019 and recording 47 total victories as a college head coach. The Bears earned a spot in the Sugar Bowl before Rhule left for the NFL.

Other notable names: Mickey Joseph, Nebraska interim coach; Lance Leipold, Kansas head coach; Jim Leonhard, Wisconsin DC; Urban Meyer, FOX Sports analyst; Bill O’Brien, Alabama OC

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