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ES RODRIGUEZ, CLARO.

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Bring out the EDSBS wagering stick, 'cause we're a-swingin': the next football coach at Alabama will be Rich Rodriguez, a blind guess made after hours of talking with people who know slightly more about 'Bama football than we do as well as a few trips down the rabbit hole of Alabama/South Carolina/West Virginia/National Security Agency message boards. (If you've never been there, they're great; the cryptography department's recipe boards are to die for, especially their pastry suggestions.)

It's Rodriguez by triangulation, which means you prove it's him more by saying why it's not going to be everyone else. The rationale, laid out in just as shaky a fashion as everyone else's:


Hey! There's a limb! Let's walk out on it.

1. Spurrier said he's not taking the job. Therefore, he's not taking the job. He's only left one job abruptly, and is generally a pretty ethical and fair guy. (And when boy tyrant Daniel Snyder is that guy, you're looking for any excuse to gnaw your arm off, slip the million dollar chains, and skedaddle--which Spurrier did.) It's a matter of public record, and he'd be caught in a lie, which doesn't jibe with his past track record.

2. Saban's not a failure as a head coach. His team is marginally in the playoff hunt, he's being paid five jillion dollars a year--which Alabama could not match without scandalous spending--and Saban won't leave until he's fired. And don't proffer the "college is easier and the pros are burning him out" argument; Saban's happiest when he's drinking a glass of his assistants' tears in a four a.m. film breakdown session before grabbing a catnap and then reducing 300 lb. men to more tears.

3. Paul Johnson has a lingering steroid issue, which will keep him off Alabama's list. (Though a wag would suggest that a faint whiff of scandal would attract Bama boosters.)

4. Jim Grobe is avowedely not interested, and would in truth have lifetime job security at Wake. Plus: he's approaching geezerhood, something which might cloud ten-year contract negotiations. Alabama's looking for stability, as evidenced by their clinging to the worst NFL offensive coordinator we've ever seen for four years.

5. Rodriguez has something like a million dollar buyout. He's never going to have a higher stock than he has right now, barring an undefeated season in the near future, and that's fool's betting.
He's young, he's in a smallish market, and has succeeded at each stop he's made in the Takeshi's Castle obstacle course of a coaching career. The money he makes as one of the most ill-paid coaches in the Big East would be at least doubled by Alabama, a financial deal he may not be able to refuse. The only rumored sticking point in negotiations is keeping Joe Kines as DC, and he may be headed to Texas, anyway.

He has not disavowed the job, either: he's said that Alabama has not contacted him, which may be superficially true. (Then again, a lawyer or the search agency or a booster may have, which is legalistically different, right?)

He's the only public candidate whose all thumbs up in the resume department who has not publically said that he isn't leaving his current job. Therefore: Rodriguez announces on Sunday after the Rutgers game and becomes the next coach at Alabama.

QEDMF! We're sure this will look great when Alabama announces the hiring of John L. Smith as their new head coach after everyone else bugs out, thus setting the stage for mass suicides by the Crimson Tide faithful as they slap themselves to death.