Michigan, Nebraska football coaches know they need to win


Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — As their paths crossed at Big Ten Media Days, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Nebraska coach Scott Frost appeared to have one thing in common: They are at a crossroads in their careers.

Both have been humbled in recent years. Both need to win now, quite possibly, to save their jobs.

Since returning to his alma mater in 2015, Harbaugh has gone just 49-22 and failed to provide the Wolverines with their first conference title since 2004. His teams have gone 0-5 against rival Ohio State and 1-4 in bowl games.

That’s not why Harbaugh was brought back to Ann Arbor as one of the nation’s highest-paid coaches. It is, however, why he received a four-year extension this offseason for roughly half the previous deal, loaded with incentives and including a more financially friendly buyout.

Standing on a stage and staring into the bright lights of Lucas Oil Stadium, where his name is memorialized in the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor, the former quarterback known as “Captain Comeback” vowed to bring his program back from mediocrity.

A question pertaining to the need to beat the Buckeyes and win a Big Ten title prompted the response that he was “as enthusiastic and excited” as ever.

“That’s what we want to do,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to do it or die trying.”

Frost is just 12-20 overall, including 9-17 in the Big Ten, as he enters a fourth season at his alma mater. The school hired former Cornhuskers star linebacker Trev Alberts to return as athletic director. Alberts is the fourth guy to have that job since 2012.

“We have a fan base that is starved and hungry,” Alberts said.

Frost doesn’t need to be reminded.

“We’re kind of cut from the same cloth and have a lot of the same experiences and a lot of the same ideas,” Frost said of Alberts. “That’s been apparent to me right away in my discussions with him.”