Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff broadcast live from Nebraska’s campus Saturday ahead of the Cornhuskers‘ game against the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners, and that led to some interesting moments around analyst Urban Meyer. With Nebraska having fired Scott Frost following last week’s loss to the Sun Belt’s Georgia Southern Eagles, there’s been plenty of chatter about Meyer as a potential hire there, including a CBS report school officials had contacted Meyer, Cornhuskers’ fans chanting “We want Urban!” around the studio set, host Rob Stone fueling those chants later (and presenting Meyer with an stuffed ear of corn, as seen above), and the broadcast focusing on one fan in the crowd with a “Hire Urban Meyer” shirt.
And Meyer even wound up in the game broadcast booth for part of the second half after Gus Johnson left with illness. And there, he talked about how great he thought the Cornhuskers’ history was further adding to this chatter. On Sunday, though, ESPN’s Pete Thamel tried to dump some cold water on the Meyer-to-Nebraska rumors:
Source: There’s been no contact between Nebraksa and Urban Meyer. He’s expected to remain at FOX and not pursue coaching opportunities.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 18, 2022
“No contact” reports sometimes come with some questions, as many coaching moves appear to start with intermediaries and plausible deniability of “contact” before getting into actual party-to-party discussions. And while the CBS report in question from Dennis Dodd Saturday did spell out “Urban Meyer has been contacted by Nebraska as the team continues its process of determining candidates for its head coaching vacancy,” it came with the caveats of “It was not made clear whether Meyer was asked about his interest in holding the job” and “Meyer may have been contacted as an outside source to vet other potential candidates for the position” rather than as per his personal interest in the job. But still, it’s interesting to see an ESPN reporter say out-and-out “no contact” a day after a CBS one said “contact.”
Thamel’s report here is also interesting for the line that Meyer is “expected to remain at Fox and not pursue coaching opportunities.” Again, reports like that aren’t necessarily a declarative indication of what will happen in the long term. Some people have “not pursued” anything, but left after they were in turn pursued (and that’s especially true for those in high-profile, well-playing jobs, which Meyer certainly is with Fox), and even “expected” is about probabilities, not anything firm.
But it’s definitely at least plausible that Meyer is planning to stay at Fox (which he just rejoined this year following his less-than-a-year with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars) for at least this season. Or at least to a point in November, December, or January where there are more open coaching vacancies that could drive the price of a big-name coach up further. We’ll see where this situation goes from here, but Thamel’s report does seem to suggest there won’t be any imminent moves on the Meyer-to-Nebraska front.