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The National Scene in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

Oregon State

The Beavers didn't look so hot when they opened the year with losses to Stanford and Penn State, the latter a blowout. However, since then they've beaten USC and every other Pac-10 that has stood in their way. Their latest victim was Cal. Now, by virtue of holding a tiebreaker over the Trojans, OSU can secure its first Rose Bowl berth since who knows when by winning out. That would certainly be a job well done for a team that looked to be in a down year.

The Bad

Texas's Coaching Decision

In an effort to keep him out of Auburn, Clemson, or Knoxville, the Texas Longhorns have named defensive coordinator Will Muschamp head-coach-in-waiting. This decision perplexes me. Muschamp is a very good DC, but should a powerhouse like Texas bank on him being a great head coach when they could probably do better? Texas is likely one of the top two or three jobs in the country. It's a great, rich school with a great, rich athletic department located in a killer city. Why should they be afraid of the doing a coaching search when Mack Brown retires? Many of the best coaches in the country--and by that I mean coaches that have proven their greatness as head coaches--would love to lead the Longhorns. I just don't get it--it's one thing when a school like Kentucky does this, but Texas? Really?

The Ugly

The Steve Spurrier Rumors

Like clockwork, around this time of your a rumor leaks that, for whatever reason, Spurrier is going to jump ship for another school or retire. This year, he's going to retire because he's upset that the school won't promise to make his son head coach when he retires. Spurrier claims that the rumors are bogus, which should come as no surprise considering that he said just a week or two ago that he plans on being here for another four to five years. And why wouldn't he? He surely wants to cement his legacy here and, considering that he's increased the talent level with solid recruiting classes, he'll have his best chance to win big over the next few years. Why would he want to give up before getting to enjoy the fruits of the program he's built? 

As Joe Person astutely says, the fact that rival schools undoubtedly tell recruits that Spurrier won't be there as their coach if they choose Carolina is one of the main roots of the annual rumors. Still, I find it surprising how quickly the sports media gobbles this stuff up. Don't get me wrong; Spurrier's actions are somewhat difficult to predict, so it would only be a minor surprise if he were to bolt. But, based on what he's been saying, it would still be a surprise, so why do we have to go through the rumor mill every year?