One side leads back to
Of course, the rumors regarding his possible interest in the Texas A&M job are just that at this point – rumors – and could lead to nothing of substance once A&M officially fires coach Dennis Franchione.
And that leads to a dangerous alchemy of circumstances: What if Tuberville doesn't get an offer from A&M? What if this is all a ploy by his agent, Jimmy Sexton, to get Tuberville a big raise at
The unfolding soap opera is mired with sub-plots, including one that goes all the way back to the end of the 2003 season.
Then-Auburn University President William Walker had already made up his mind about getting rid of Tuberville and led a delegation of
With a 13-0 record in 2004 and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools breathing down
When the rumors about A&M's interest arose, Tuberville didn't help his case by trying to talk his way around questions. Over the past month, he's made it clear he doesn't want to discuss the future until after the season when he can sit down with Auburn President Jay Gogue and Athletic Director Jay Jacobs.
In the process, Tuberville hasn't said anything definitive about staying at
Critics insist Tuberville has lost too many games they believe he should have won over the past three seasons, especially this season's home losses to South Florida and
Supporters point to the program's stability under Tuberville: to the fact that
Those factors make Tuberville a desirable candidate for the A&M job. He also spent a season as A&M's defensive coordinator in 1994 and has shown, at both Ole Miss and
Then again, he only spent one season at A&M, so it's not like he has deep Aggie roots. Tuberville is also 53 years old and he's hinted at retirement in the past, so why would A&M want to invest its future in someone who might not be around in 5-7 years? Would it make more sense for A&M to search for someone younger who can counter 56-year-old Mack Brown with new energy and enthusiasm?
On a more personal level, some wonder if Tuberville is still happy at
There's also the "Saban Factor." With Nick Saban now at
At the same time, Tuberville isn't your average 53-year-old. At an age when most men's children are at least in college, Tuberville's boys are 13 and 11 years old. His family is happy in
He's also got an abundance of talented young players who saw more playing time than anyone planned this season. Three freshmen start on the offensive line, and
There are reasons to go and reasons to stay. There are reasons for both sides to start over and reasons for both sides to continue, even if the rift remains between Tuberville and
Either way, Tuberville has to listen if A&M comes calling. That's IF. Tuberville could even get a call about replacing Houston Nutt at
The one thing Tuberville can't do is keep walking this tightrope. He's got to make a definitive move at some point, the sooner the better. The Tigers lost all their hard-earned momentum with the loss at
Win this game and Tuberville improves his position while the winds die down a bit. Lose this game and the winds pick up and the tightrope starts to wobble.
Richard Scott is a Birmingham-based sports writer, author and Tiger Rag's SEC expert. Reach him at email@example.com.