Delicious football rumor of the week

OK. I'm ready for the hate mail. Go ahead — bring it on. But before you hit that send button I would ask you to remember the following: I'm probably not too far off base.

Word out of Texas A&M has it that Coach Slocum will be asked to resign as soon as next week. It's a shame because he's a good man, but no one can deny that in the six years since the inception of the Big XII, the Aggies have lost 31 games. For perspective, they only lost 6 games in the final six years of the SWC. Yes, Slocum is A&M's winningest coach, but it's time to turn the page.

Now for those of you outside of Texas, I'm about to say something that you may have never heard. I know that I had never heard it before I moved to the Lone Star State. The Texas A&M Aggies have more money than God. A&M is one of the wealthiest schools in the country with an astounding list of marquee alumni who "love them some football." (How many universities have US Presidents, Senators, and scores of CEOs at every ballgame?) Money is not and never will be an issue in Aggie-land.

So A&M has a new president. Hand picked by the big money alumni, he's already said "OUT" with the AD and has done nothing to quash the rumors swirling around Slocum. Only two candidates have been brought in for the Athletic Director job and an offer is expected to be made to either Missouri AD Mike Alden or Nebraska AD Bill Byrne. It will be accepted and it gets really fun from there.

OK. Before you go crazy on me, I will explain. I know you're question: Why would anyone leave Nebraska for Texas A&M? There are several factors in A&M's favor but they start with money. A&M will pay double or triple the current rate to get the man they want. Aggies look out for and take care of one another. (That's an aspect that I can't explain exactly – you have to witness it. Suffice to say that one A&M alumni would *walk* from College Station to Bangor, Maine for an Aggie they didn't even know if they thought for one second it would help an Aggie. They call it tradition & pride. I call amazing.) So money is one reason. Others? A hometown shot at the best recruiting state in the nation, Big XII conference, outstanding tradition, and there ain't a whole lot of snow to shovel in College Station, TX. And it never hurts to be able to call on the aforementioned Presidents, Senators, and CEOs on a whim.

So how does this get down to the delicious rumor? Well, here goes. Some folks out west may recall that Missouri AD Alden did a long stint in New Mexico with everyone's favorite former TCU coach, Dennis Franchione. Let's take this back another step, shall we? It was Coach Fran who got his little buddy Alden the job at Southwest Texas State, where Franchione was the coach. Coach Fran served as a reference to Alden and the relationship is very close. Coach Fran said last week in the Austin paper that the two talk "at least once a week." Do you see where we're going here?

So the rumor that grows stronger every day is that A&M will bring in Coach Fran to take over the football program. Of course, the boys at 'Bama will have something to say about that, but there is a lot of talk in the local & national papers that 'Bama is no longer in the driver's seat with Coach Fran. Consider the following:

  • The aforementioned relationship with Alden,
  • The aforementioned money @ A&M is substantially more than 'Bama has offered Franchione as an extension. Franchione has not signed his 10-year extension for $15 million at 'Bama because he hasn't agreed to the noncompete clause that would bind him there for a decade. A&M is reported to have offered Coach Fran a 5 year, $15 million dollar package.
  • Coach Fran has a $1.1 million buyout clause in his current eight-year deal, but they will have to hold a lottery @ A&M to see which booster wins the right to write that check.
  • Fort Worth friends of the Franchione family have been giving interviews that lead one to believe that Coach Fran feels "tricked" by Alabama. Alabama's bowl sanctions and NCAA scholarship penalties are much harsher than Franchione was lead to believe. It's will be very difficult for Alabama to remain competitive with 5 years worth of sanction penalties. Coach Fran knows this…now.
  • Coach Fran and family love Texas. In fact, Franchione pondered leaving Texas Christian for the greener pastures of Alabama for more than a week because his family loved the area so much. Coach Fran put in time in the early days at Southwest Texas State and is considered a legend in the making in Texas. Win the Texas recruiting war — win the national championship.
  • Coach Fran has coveted the big Texas coaching jobs for a long, long time. His TCU contract had opt-outs for four schools; none of the four were Alabama. On the list — you guessed it — Texas A&M.

    I guess we'll have to wait and see how things turn out. But make no mistake about it, word is out on the street. Heck, Google search the subject for 1,750 results plus 81 news stories or just visit Coach Fran's website, where he says, "R.C. Slocum is the head coach at Texas A&M, and he's a close friend of mine. To talk about speculation on his job would be unprofessional." He also called the speculation "idiotic."

    Fort Worth locals will recall that Coach Fran also said rumors of his moving from New Mexico to TCU were "idiotic". Ditto the TCU to Alabama move. :wink

    Roll Tide or roll on Ryder Van. We shall see.

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