You can#039;t spell Tuscaloosa without T-U-L-S-A

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 14, 2006

On a recent episode of Jeopardy, I could almost swear I saw the following answer under the category ‘No thanks':

Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, Rich Rodriguez, Bobby Petrino and Greg Schiano.

Although no one got it right, the question was, ‘Who are people that have turned down the Alabama job?'

Those five coaches have been taken off al.com's Alabama coaching search list, leaving nine more on the list.

Out of those nine (Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez, Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, Wake Forest's Jim Grobe, Navy's Paul Johnson, Tulsa' Steve Kragthorpe, South Florida's Jim Leavitt, Arkansas' Houston Nutt, Houston Texans' Mike Sherman and California's Jeff Tedford), only Grobe, Johnson, Kragthorpe and Sherman are legitimate candidates for the job.

Alvarez, the longtime Badger head coach, retired after last season's Capital One Bowl victory over Auburn and is now the Athletics Director for the school in which he is the all-time winningest coach.

Beamer is in his 20th season at his alma mater, is the all-time winningest coach for the Hokies, has won four conference titles and led Virginia Tech to one national title appearance.

Leavitt was the first football coach for the South Florida Bulls and has compiled a 61-39 record as the head coach. Leavitt removed himself from the last ‘Bama coaching search and came forward just a few weeks ago to preemptively state he has no interest in the Alabama job this go around.

Nutt led his alma mater to the SEC Championship for the third time this season and turned down the Nebraska job a few seasons ago to stay with the Razorbacks.

Tedford is in his fifth year as the head coach of his alma mater and has been voted as the PAC-10 Coach of the Year once over USC's Pete Carroll.

With these five individuals firmly established at places they call home or have learned to call home, it appears there are only four choices for Alabama to choose from.

Grobe and Johnson have recently turned dormant programs into national programs which actually leaves just Sherman and Kragthorpe for the Tide to choose from.

Sherman expressed interest in the ‘Bama job just days after the Tide fired Mike Shula and the Texans assistant coach knows what big-time football is all about.

The question is, does he know the importance of college football in the south?

Tulsa's Steve Kragthorpe knows football in the south as he has led his Hurricanes through Conference USA.

The Ol' Ball Coach Steve Spurrier once said about the University of Tennessee and the Citrus Bowl that ‘you can't spell Citrus without U-T.'

Well, maybe Mal Moore should realize you can't spell Tuscaloosa without T-U-L-S-A.

Austin Phillips is The Greenville Advocate sports editor.

You can contact him by e-mailing austin.phillips@greenvilleadvocate.com or by calling 382-3111 ext. 122.