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As the Coaching Carousel Turns: Manhattan Melodrama

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Is Rich Rodriguez preparing to two-time his beloved Mountaineers? The sought-after coach and West Virginia University have run into some rocky times lately, with the team fumbling away its chance at the Big East title and over assistants' salaries and the kickoff of a promised fundraising campaign. But Rod expressed his faithfulness by vehemently denying contact with Alabama's harlot charms last week and again on camera during the emotional, John Denver-driven aftermath of his team's overtime victory against Rutgers, when he said, "I am the coach at West Virginia and I plan on being the coach at West Virginia," at a point, perhaps that he'd never felt closer to his team and responsibility to hearth and home. Turbulence apparently braved, averted, and dinner tables returned to blessed placidity in Morgantown.

Until The Birmingham News and the West Virginia-serving Pittsburgh Post-Gazette each reported via "a source familiar with the process" this morning that, on his out-of-town convention trip to New York for College Football Hall of Fame-related festivities, Rodriguez will succumb to the devil-may-care vices of the city by meeting with `Bama officials in the Waldorf-Astoria. The News reported A.D. Mal Moore, president Robert Witt and other members of a Tide contingent have been in the Big Apple since Sunday, though they denied an impending offer of more than $2 million plus buyout provisions by Thursday.

For a town that couldn't care much less about college football in general, the NYC is the hub of the coaching gossip universe this week while seemingly every available coach in the nation is in town for the Hall of Fame; if terrorists had any intentions of undermining the nation by destroying the heads of its precious college football programs, this week, it seems, is their chance. Monday, Greg Schiano cold-heartedly spurned shocked old flame Miami in a Manhattan meeting, despite his obvious affection for the `Canes as a program that he admitted remains "attractive" even after all it had been through since he last saw it.

So perfect was Schiano for South Florida, and his rejection such a surprise, who could really blame Miami now if it went, humbled, a little panicked, running for affirmation into the willing arms of standby Mike Leach? The Miami Herald calls the coach "very enthusiastic" about the sudden attention from his new crush (he knew they'd come around eventually if he didn't act desperate! They always do...). SMQ well knows that, sometimes, we all need that little bit of comfort. But when Donna Shalala and Paul Dee wake up from dreaming dreamy Schiano dreams, only to see the monogramed eye patch hanging from the bed post as other hazy memories come flooding back into focus (Swing your sword!), will they still respect themselves in the morning?

You should know, coach, the whole "six-shooter" thing has slightly different conotations in Miami...