LINCOLN -- He checks a lot of boxes, as you would expect of a rising star in the coaching business.
He's well-prepared for a jump from college football's Group of Five conferences to the Power-Five realm.
Scott Frost's work building Central Florida's program has been nothing short of remarkable, borderline miraculous, as the 14th-ranked Knights are 11-0 entering Saturday's American Athletic Conference championship game against No. 20 Memphis (10-1).
If you're a Nebraska fan, you surely know Frost's story. UCF was 0-12 just two seasons ago. The Knights won six games in 2016, Frost's first season at the school, and now all signs point to the 42-year-old filling the head-coaching vacancy at Nebraska, his alma mater, where he would encounter a litany of challenges — not the least of which is that the Big Ten arguably has the best group of head coaches of any league in the land.
I broach this subject not as a way to rain on the impending parade in Lincoln, but to offer perspective. I've said it before: Nebraska should feel extremely fortunate Frost played quarterback for the school and retains deep roots in the state where he starred at Wood River High. Otherwise, his soaring profile is such that he likely would not have been available to Bill Moos.
Bottom line, Frost is essentially the Tom Herman of 2017. Would Herman have considered Nebraska's head coaching job, especially in a year like this with so many big-money openings? You know the answer. But Frost won a national championship here and remains close with Tom Osborne.
So, clear the parade route. The party, barring any last-minute snafus, is about to start. But understand that Frost, as a rookie head coach in the Big Ten, would be far down the list in any objective ranking of conference coaches. By far down the list, I mean outside of the top seven in the 14-team league. There's really nothing controversial or even debatable about what I'm telling you.
Think of it this way: Frost is already an excellent head coach, and he's about to get better. As Nebraska's coach, he would have no choice but to raise his game against the veteran stalwarts on the Big Ten sidelines.
Ohio State's Urban Meyer obviously tops that list. The three-time national champion coach is followed by Penn State's James Franklin, Wisconsin's Paul Chryst, Michigan's Jim Harbaugh and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio. You could debate the order after Meyer. Maybe move Chryst up to second. But the overall strength of the top five is undeniable. Each of the coaches clearly belongs somewhere in that echelon.
Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, 86-65 in 12 seasons at the school (including 9-3 this season), is a reasonable choice for the sixth slot immediately followed by Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, the nation's second-longest tenured head coach with nearly 19 seasons in Iowa City. In that span, he has seen four Nebraska coaches fired. Meanwhile, he has five top-10 finishes.
This is where slotting Frost among Big Ten coaches gets tricky. You could make a case that he would start at No. 8. But you can also make a strong case for Purdue's Jeff Brohm. In three years at Western Kentucky (2014-16), he went 30-10 and guided the Hilltoppers to back-to-back Conference USA championships, including a 12-2 (8-0 in the league) run in 2015.
Western Kentucky was the only team in the nation from 2014-16 to average 40 points a game in all three years. This season, the 46-year-old Brohm, who played quarterback in the NFL for seven seasons, led Purdue (6-6, 4-5) to bowl eligibility, quite an accomplishment for a program that had won five games the previous four years under Darrell Hazell.
So, slot Frost at either No. 8 or No. 9 and watch him improve his overall coaching acumen. You know it'll happen. Competitors rise to challenges. He can learn big-picture leadership from Moos, the veteran athletic director. But Frost has been groomed his whole life to coach at the highest levels the sport has to offer. He played the game at the highest levels — college and the NFL — and just as important, thinks the game at a high level.
"Scott has the best short-term memory of any human being I've ever seen," his brother Steve Frost once told me. "It's ridiculous. The other thing about Scott's brain is, he processes things spatially very, very well."
Steve explained, "If I lined up at center, and all of a sudden we used motion, and the WILL linebacker wasn't where he was supposed to be, or they shifted the line, I would have to try to process what I'm going to do before the ball's snapped. A lot of people can't process things that quickly. But Scott can process things spatially as they happen."
Which helps make him a premier play-caller. He calls plays at UCF and would keep those duties as Nebraska's coach, I'm told. His ability in that regard helps set him apart from many coaches. And let's face it, the Huskers badly need something, anything, that sets them apart. They've fallen too far back into the pack.
"If Urban Meyer's at Nebraska right now, would it be in this boat?" an industry insider recently asked me, rhetorically. "There you go. You have your answer: Find Urban Meyer."
Maybe Frost can become that guy.
I wouldn't rule it out.