The offseason hasn't even begun yet, but this morning's news out of Corvallis will likely be the bombshell of the year. Mike Riley has left Oregon State to accept the head coaching position at Nebraska. The move is a huge promotion for Riley and an even bigger loss for the Beavers.
Riley essentially had a lifetime deal at Oregon State. For each year the Beavers won six games, an extra year would be added to Riley's contract. As of today, Riley was under contract through 2021 with Oregon State. No coach is ever untouchable, but Riley was about as close as they came. His name wasn't even in the pot for the Nebraska job according to Vegas.
No. Zero. RT @BDN013 Were any online betting sites even making odds for Mike Riley at Nebraska?— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) December 4, 2014
In recent years, Oregon State has been the definition of a mediocre program, and that's not just my Oregon bias coming out. Only once under Mike Riley did the Beavers win 10 games in a year. That was back in 2006, and all they got out of that season was a Sun Bowl win. Riley brought the Beavers to the cusp of the Rose Bowl a couple of times, but the Ducks stomped out that dream real quick. The Beavers are always good for one good upset a year, maybe a trip to a bowl game, but nothing more. Riley did everything he could with the program, he just never had the talent to take them to the next level.
No doubt Riley can still coach. Ruined ASU’s season this year. Talent just wasn’t there for consistent results.— Pacific Takes (@PacificTakes) December 4, 2014
Some way-too-early candidates that have circulated around Twitter to fill the new coaching vacancy at Oregon State include Denis Erickson and Ed Orgerson. Erickson coached the Beavers from 1999-2002 while Mike Riley took a field trip to try out coaching in the NFL.
two words: Orgeron State— SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) December 4, 2014
What does this move mean for the Ducks? It means that Scott Frost will remain with Oregon, at least for now. Frost, who led Nebraska to the 1997 national championship as their quarterback (beating Peyton Manning and Tennessee), was considered the favorite for the job. While Frost isn't as likely to take the Oregon State job, what we've learned today is that nothing makes sense in the world of college football coaches. The more popular rumors on Twitter have been that Riley will try and scoop up Frost for the offensive coordinator role, and then hand over the reins in a few years when he wants to retire.
Mike Riley is 61... Is the door open for Scott Frost to be OC and Head Coach In Waiting? #Huskers— Matthew Svoboda (@MatthewSvoboda) December 4, 2014
Out of all the hypothetical scenarios being thrown around, this one seems the most logical. Bring Frost back to his old stomping grounds, let him adjust to a new program without having to be in the spotlight, and then hand over the team when he's ready. Oregon knows a thing or two about promoting offensive coordinators to head coach. Of course, the toughest part of this plan would be luring Frost away from a program that is among the nation's elite to a team that consistently does just enough to get by and go to a decent bowl game every year.
Oregon isn't out of the clear just yet when it comes to retaining Scott Frost, but the biggest threat is now likely off the table.