Coaches Jim Harbaugh, Scott Frost can prove plenty when their Michigan Wolverines, Nebraska Cornhuskers football teams clash


AP College Football Writer

LINCOLN, Neb. — It seems that negativity has swirled around Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Nebraska’s Scott Frost since they returned to coach at the schools where they enjoyed so much success as players.

The vibe is decidedly upbeat around both teams this week, just in time for Saturday night’s meeting of teams in the top five for all-time wins.

Michigan is 5-0, ranked No. 9 and coming off a convincing victory against Wisconsin.

Nebraska is 3-3, believes it could be 5-1 had it not been for special teams meltdowns, and fresh off a 49-point win over Northwestern that was the Cornhuskers’ most lopsided in a Big Ten game since they joined the conference 10 years ago.

For the team that wins this weekend, the belief this will be a breakthrough year will be sustained at least another week. For the team that loses, the mojo will be gone.

Harbaugh and Frost both were seen as saviors for their respective programs, both were given long contracts and both have yet to deliver on the high expectations set for them.

“I can see all the potential storylines there for sure,” Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez said. “Former quarterbacks. Guys who played in the NFL. Alma maters. Respected in their industry. It’s a big game for both of us. I know they’re trying to continue to build momentum and so are we.”

Harbaugh, 57, was Michigan’s quarterback in the mid-1980s. He famously made good on his guarantee to beat Ohio State in 1986, and he finished third in Heisman Trophy voting that year. He had a long NFL career and had success at two college stops before he coached the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl.

Frost, 46, was Nebraska’s quarterback in the mid-1990s and led the Huskers to a share of the ’97 national title (with Michigan) after famously lobbying for votes during his post-Orange Bowl TV interview. He spent four-plus years as a backup safety in the NFL.

He was a rising star as an Oregon assistant and orchestrated Central Florida’s quick turnaround in his first head coaching job before he returned to his home state.