Jim Grobe looked out of place at ACC media days in July. He felt it, too. Less stress, less excitement.

He's an ACC television analyst this season, not a longtime Wake Forest coach who once improbably reached the Orange Bowl in a year that will forever be part of ACC lore.

Grobe, who resigned last December after the greatest 13-year run in Wake Forest history, is part of college football's next wave of possible comeback coaching attempts for 2015. He's in that in-between phase right now: Do you or don't you try to get back into coaching?

Grobe also symbolizes the cautionary tale of what can happen to a coach who doesn't jump when his resume reaches its peak. Nebraska pursued Grobe in 2007 before hiring Bo Pelini. So did Arkansas in 2007, prior to landing Bobby Petrino. Grobe was mentioned in the 2008 Clemson search before Dabo Swinney got the job permanently.

Instead, Grobe cherished stability and in 2007 signed a 10-year contract with Wake Forest that paid him $2.3 million in 2013 (sixth-highest in the ACC and up from $988,000 in 2006, according to USA Today Sports). He won't coach the final three years of the deal and can't help but play the what-if game about his career.

When asked if he regrets not taking the Nebraska job, Grobe doesn't hesitate. "I do now, I didn't at the time," he said. "I honestly took great pride in Wake Forest. I had some really good friends there. I trusted some people there. I thought Wake was a little different than other schools. I really, at the time, felt we were going to get a bigger commitment in terms of facilities and support for the program that never really materialized. We loved all 13 years we were in Winston-Salem, but I'm not real happy with the way things ended."

To be fair, Grobe unequivocally accepts blame for Wake Forest going from three straight bowls between 2006-08 to 5-7 and 3-9 records in his final two years. Grobe blames himself for making recruiting mistakes by getting too caught up in signing more talented players who had off-the-field behavioral issues.