This is what I believe is happening concerning Steve Spurrier at this time:
1. Spurrier or his agent -- I think the actual arrangement is unclear -- have agreed to meet with Alabama AD Mal Moore tomorrow, either in Columbia or Tuscaloosa.
2. Spurrier will be offered the job at Alabama, something that has likely already been discussed. It will be a fat contract, one that USC might not be able to match. It will have lots of perks, though I am suspicious of reports that Spurrier would not report to Moore and instead would report directly to UA president.
3. At the same time, USC is trying to renegotiate Spurrier's contract. The Bama meeting could be a ploy by Spurrier or his agent. Or it might not be.
4. It is quite possible -- likely, I believe -- that Spurrier has turned down Bama at least once. This is not enough for Moore, who will press Spurrier hard at this meeting with an exceptionally good offer.
5. All indications are still that Spurrier is not inclined to take the job. He has told top recruits that he's not going anywhere. If these recruits are everything Spurrier thinks they are, he would not tell them something he knows to be a lie, because his credibility with them -- should he try to draw them to Alabama -- would be destroyed.
6. However, there are no guarantees. If I had to estimate, I would say 60-40 Spurrier stays. That's much worse than odds I would have given just four or five hours ago.
Now, here's the backup info.
First of all, the offer has been made, though one of the stations reporting it has shown why such reports can be scurrilous:
Multiple sources have confirmed to CBS 8 that Steve Spurrier has been offered a contract to coach the Univ. of Alabama football team. ... The apparent offer would also give him the chance to hire his son as offensive coordinator. Last week, The 8 Team reported that Spurrier was on a plane to Alabama. [Emphasis mine.]
I'm pretty certain the whole plane thing didn't happen.
Tony Barnhart -- hey, you'll take information where you can get it at this point -- believes Alabama is pushing hard on Spurrier. They might offer him loads of money and the potential of bringing Bill Oliver to the Tide as AD. This would be a big deal for Alabama, since they and Oliver reportedly parted on bad terms. However, TB's wording is crucial. The emphasis, of course, is mine:
Steve Spurrier will politely listen to what Alabama has to say-or at least his agent, Jimmy Sexton, will. Alabama will give him several million reasons to leave South Carolina and come to Tuscaloosa. They will even float the idea of Bill “Brother” Oliver coming out of retirement to be defensive coordinator. Spurrier has made no secret of his admiration for Oliver. The next 48 hours will be crucial in this process.
Also, the wording some blogs are reporting from broadcasts is that Spurrier is going to "hear him (Moore) out." Again, this sounds like listening without necessarily being ready to go.
Alabama blogs have also reported that Spurrier has been offered before now. I have no reason to doubt this.
However, the Birmingham News -- which has had a mixed track record on this subject so far -- is saying Spurrier won't take the job. If this is true, it's possible Spurrier is meeting with Bama as a favor to Bill Oliver, whom he likes. But that is merely speculation.
South Carolina officials are working to get Spurrier to sign a new contract. They seem rather confident:
The new deal is expected to be finalized within a week or two, according to a source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
And The State finally speaks to a real, live Spurrier. No new denials, though.
Reached by phone Wednesday while recruiting in Florida, Spurrier said he has tried to use the Alabama speculation to the Gamecocks' benefit.
"It's always flattering if somebody thinks that you're a good enough coach to go to one of those kind of programs. That's how we've been using it with our recruits," Spurrier said. "It's a compliment that maybe they think I'm a good enough coach to go to those places. So we're trying to turn it into a positive."
USC received oral commitments Wednesday from a pair of 6-foot-4 wide receivers: Jason Barnes of Charlotte and Joseph Hills of Bradenton, Fla.
Hills said Spurrier recently assured him that he would be back with the Gamecocks.
"He told me all that stuff is false. He's not going anywhere," Hills said. "He basically said that South Carolina felt like home to him, so he's going to stick around for quite some time."
Spurrier would neither confirm nor deny that he had been contacted by Alabama.
"I’m tired of talking about all that. Miami, Alabama, Tennessee," he said. "Let me tell you a good rumor. My high school job is open — Science Hill High School (in Johnson City, Tenn.). And if things go real, real bad for me, I might have to consider that as a last alternative job."
Message boards have broken down and are unreliable, if they were ever reliable to begin with. Bammers (my term for Alabama homers who irrationally believe all good and no bad about the Tide) vehemently say that Spurrier is holding a PC in Tuscaloosa tomorrow. USC homers have been equally vehement in saying Spurrier will stay. There's no way to reconcile these reports, so someone is wrong.
As a final note, there is reason to be concerned that current USC Prez and former UA prez Sorensen could screw this up. He reportedly chased Gene Stallings away from Alabama, quite possibly the dumbest move the Tide has made since ... ever. Matched only by the hiring of Mike Shula, which came after Sorensen moved.
That said, I post this as an open plea to the university: Do whatever it takes. Give Spurrier whatever he wants. Make him co-athletic director with Hyman. Give him a binding agreement in writing that Steve Jr. takes over when he leaves. Throw all the money you have to at him. DO NOT LOSE SPURRIER!!!
Because for many of us, if we lose Spurrier and find out it was your fault, we will never forgive you.