Remember Kremlinology? Because the Soviet Union didn't have elections or anything, our intelligences agencies tried to discern from outward signs, innuendo, rumor and various forms of scuttlebutt exactly what was going on in Moscow. Who was in? Who was out? Etc., etc., etc.
A similar waiting game is now playing out in Alabama, where AD Mal Moore has kicked up a dust storm of rumors by refusing to comment on Mike Shula's job status despite the football season being over for Alabama (barring a bowl game) for all of 72 hours now.
Waiting for a sign from Comrade Moore.
Why is all this signficant for South Carolina fans? Because of persistent, won't-die rumors that Spurrier could become the next head coach for the Crimson Tide. Now I know what Louisville fans feel like.
First, we have to determine whether Shula is coming back or not. And that depends on who you listen to.
The Huntsville Times (what! what! for my hometown newspaper) is reporting late Tuesday that Shula will remain. But The Tuscaloosa News says not so fast, my friend. (HT: Fire Mike Shula Now) However, FMSN also points out something I'm seeing around the Web -- that Mal Moore is the classic tell-you-what-you-want-to-hear AD.
Meanwhile, Memphis Tider has been the most consistent rumor-mongerer that Spurrier is going to Alabama. (And I use rumor-mongerer not as a disparaging term, because rumors can be right. But, as of now, they are rumors.)
The most convincing info from MT's best post:
--Flight paths: "The University's (N1UA) and Paul Bryant Jr's (N323P) private jets were both in Augusta, GA on Monday after LSU's win over Bama."
--Friends/relatives: "Alumni friends of my parents and grandparents, who also happen to be close with AD Mal Moore, explained to us yesterday that this has been a done deal since the Bama/Florida game this year."
--A visit; "To throw a little credibility to that, Steve and Jerri Spurrier sat with the Crimson White crew on press row at the Florida game and apparently had a nice long dinner with a few members of the Board of Trustees after the game."
But wait a minute. Sporting News has a different tale:
Here are the names I'm hearing from sources: Georgia Tech's Chan Gailey, West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez, Clemson's Tommy Bowden and Louisville's Bobby Petrino. Gailey may make the most sense.
Now, before you totally dismiss this, consider: Georgia Tech is awful close to ... Augusta. Clemson is awful close to ... Augusta.
Also, between Shula's buyout and Spurrier's, it would cost $5.25 million to bring Spurrier to T-town. That's the buyout amount. Throw in the $7.5 million-$10 million that it would take for a contract, and you're talking between $13 million-$15 million. You can get another good coach for less and have the money left over to buy a few players from sleazy HS coaches.
That said, Bama boosters are just nuts enough to pay that to get a coach if they wanted him bad enough.
As for the flight times: The planes leave Augusta at very different times. Also, Spurrier was in Columbia for at part of the day Monday, Nov. 13, when the meeting would have happened.
After practice Monday night, Spurrier said he was trying to defend his players and sometimes that gets a reprimand. [EMPHASIS ADDED]
I won't rest easy until Miami and Alabama name their new head coaches. I'm not sure where this is going, but it's new for South Carolina to have its coach's named bantied about like this.
I'd be happy if it never happened again.