Nebraska Football: Reading the tea leaves on the Arizona State rumor

Nebraska Cornhuskers interim head coach Mickey Joseph signals to players (Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports)
Nebraska Cornhuskers interim head coach Mickey Joseph signals to players (Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports) /

It’s been quite the news cycle for Mickey Joseph and the Nebraska football program. One day after a Sports Illustrated article that didn’t exactly paint the state or the program in a particularly flattering light, a brand new article for Husker Online makes it seem as though there’s a very good chance that Joseph won’t be the head coach of the Huskers come next season.

Sean Callahan reported on Tuesday afternoon that unless the Nebraska football team wraps up Joseph as the head coach quickly, he could be on the move toward the Pac-12 and Arizona State.

Callahan wrote that Arizona State is very seriously looking at Joseph to take over the position that was left vacant when the Sun Devils fired Herm Edwards. He knows this because sources with representatives of Joseph have admitted ASU has reached out to the Huskers coach.

It feels like there are a couple of different ways to take this report. The first is that the Sun Devils; interest and the very public rumors could be a sign that the Nebraska football program is looking elsewhere for its next head coach.

Of course, that’s been the talk since the search started, but there have been some whispers about the possibility that Trev Alberts has wanted Joseph all along. That the search for a big-name coach has been more cover than anything else.

So have things changed? Has the Cornhuskers’ struggles against Purdue and Illinois soured Alberts on the interim head coach? Or was the talk about the Huskers already having their man always premature?

There’s another way to take this report coming out when it did. It’s possible that Joseph and his people are starting to see what was a wave of enthusiasm behind him, keeping the job start to ebb. The loss to Illinois left a bad taste in a lot of fans’ mouths. Especially when it comes to the way the team handled the quarterback situation.

It’s possible his reps are banking on the Nebraska football faithful to panic a bit about another school coming in and scooping up their coach and then watching him succeed at Arizona State. It seems unlikely that it’s a third option that’s been floated around.

Some Husker fans believe the report was floated out there in order to try and pressure Trev to remote the interim tag from Mickey’s job title. However, it feels a bit too ham-handed for that to be the approach. Trev doesn’t seem like someone who would panic, especially about an interim head coach who is 2-3 at his current school.

No matter what the motives (and perhaps there are no motives at all and Joseph really is a candidate for the ASU job) are behind the report getting floated out there on Tuesday, the good news is that it won’t be long before things clarify.

Barring a miracle, we’ve officially entered the final month of Nebraska football season. It’s extremely likely that in 30 days, the Huskers will have a permanent head coach. So will Arizona State.