Friday, December 12, 2008
Where we stand, sort of
1. Auburntron put up a post not too long ago linking back to the original source at Fox10 that reported that Muschamp was coming. The report this time? "Zero chance" he's coming to Auburn. Combine that with his other assorted denials all over the place this a.m., and it's safe to say Muschamp's not coming now, even if Auburntron wants to leave the door open.
The question: Was there a point at which Muschamp was thinking about coming, or possibly had even agreed to come before the news leaked and he took his toys and went home? There's precedent for this--by most accounts Les Miles was all set to head back to momma Michigan last year, right up until the point Kirk Herbstreit went on GameDay and announced Miles was all set to head back to momma Michigan, and the whole house of cards collapsed.
As with the TV report last year sending Tubby to Arkansas, I refuse to believe there's no fire where there's this much smoke. Earlier today I wrote that Muschamp "responded in some fashion or another" to Auburn's request for an audience, and the information that seems to be trickling out today suggests that that response was, in fact, a discussion of some kind with Auburn. (If you want to hypothesize that the plane flight to and from Fort Worth may not just have been for Patterson, well, I don't know about that. But hey, fun theory.) How much of a discussion, how much progress was made in that discussion, who knows. Auburntron said they're hearing that Muschamp was demanding Jacobs be cut out of the decision-making loop and that he'd report directly to Gogue, and it's my understanding that Dan Patrick (of all people) has reported something similar on the radio--it's RUMORRIFIC and sounds like the sort of yarn that could be spun out of the known friction between Muschamp and Jacobs during Muschamp's departure to Texas last year, rather than, you know, reality. But hey, it's out there.
What I do feel confident in telling you is this: Muschamp was not happy about that report last night. Tres pissed. As in, not the Spurrier-style "rumors, LOL" kind of pissed, the BOOM! kind of pissed. Why? It's the JCCW's official read of the tea leaves* that if Auburn didn't have Muschamp on the hook, they at least had him eyeing the bait. Right up until the point, that is, when Fox10 went live and Muschamp had to start telling everyone in sight "What? I love Texas! Never thought about leaving! Head coach-in-waiting, that's me! Nothing to see here, folks, not with good ol' Texas-lovin' Will Muschamp!" so he still had a place to sleep in Austin tonight.**
That Auburn's leadership would jeopardize the hire of a guy whose name they apparently did want to keep away from the media because somebody couldn't keep their mouth shut tells me, more than ever, that this search is being conducted by clowns. Clowns who don't necessarily deserve the level of bile that's been directed at them by Auburn fans over the past week--clowns who drive home Paul Johnson in the secret compartment of their clown car are clowns who'll deserve a nice round of applause and an apology--but clowns nonetheless. The circus metaphors strike me as more apt than ever.
2. So where does this--and the apparent withdrawal of Patterson--leave us? The same place we started:
The Spurrier madness has passed. The trip to Fort Worth apparently didn't accomplish much. If Muschamp was talking to Auburn at any point, no freaking way he talks to Auburn now after telling every media member under the sun he's staying at Texas; not even Saban or Petrino would be bold enough to jump ship now. The only member of Coaches on Parade with any kind of traction is still ... Turner Gill.
If I was a betting man, as of 4:56 EST Friday, December 12, I would bet on Gill becoming Auburn's next head football coach. This is a bet I will feel totally confident in for at least the next 12 minutes.
3. Because there are, still, other possibilities. The biggest and best one in my very, very humble opinion?
This possibility: that the reason Paul Johnson has neither been part of Coaches on Parade nor signed his contract extension--still no word from Atlanta on the latter--nor squashed speculation in any fashion despite having had the chance to is because he, like Muschamp, has been talking to Auburn while being successfuly kept behind the smokescreen. And yes, there could be others, though because his name has bubbled up out of the muck here and there Johnson is the possibility that seems most likely. That's the possibility I'm clinging to most tightly, anyway, as we enter the second weekend of Coachapalooza '08***.
Site-wise, there will be Saturday and Sunday posts, but only as news drives them; the only other profile I had planned was for Charlie Strong, but with no Mullen to ride alongside him and his name seemingly completely out of the picture, I'm inclined to skip it. If a new name seems to push towards the front, I'll cover him. Otherwise, a brief pop-in to cover the highlights, and back out until Monday.
Again: We will get through this together, you and I. Hang tough, Auburn fans.
*For the record: just a guess. Nothing more.
**Could this all also be some sort of super-elaborate Jimmy Sexton prank? It's a possibility, certainly, but that's not what I'm being led to believe.
***We're kind of entering with a fizzle, aren't we? Nothing new all afternoon from Tate, Woodberry, Goldberg, or Bitter. Calm before the storm, perhaps?