News reports out of Alabama indicate that the rumor mill once again is in full swing regarding the University of Alabama head coaching vacancy.
Suspicions were raised when an aircraft reportedly departed the North Pole bearing a well-known traveler southward, in the general direction of Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Speculation was further fueled by evidence indicating that the famous occupant of the vehicle was clad in crimson. The lead reindeer in front of the caravan also was reputed to have a luminescent crimson proboscis, which many University of Alabama fans took to be irrefutable evidence that their hopes would turn out to be true.
Giving voice to the widespread innuendo on a popular radio talk show, lifelong Crimson Tide fan Hubert McSwain joyously proclaimed, "It's true! Santa Claus is coming to be the new coach at 'Bama!"
University of Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, whose job offers have been spurned so often that former candidates for the coaching vacancy have felt the need to reject anew the very position they have rejected already, declined comment on the persistent rumor.
An elfin spokesman for St. Nicholas, delivering a prepared statement at the popular Christmas figure's North Pole workshop, made it clear that Kris Kringle had no interest in leaving his present position.
"Frankly, keeping track of the good and bad behavior of every boy and girl on the face of the planet, traveling to every house in the whole world in a single night, delivering age-appropriate toys to all the children everywhere in compliance with their individual requests, and squeezing up and down chimneys throughout Christmas Eve involves less pressure than being the head football coach at the University of Alabama," explained the spokesman.
Added the elfin spokesman, who prefers to be referred to as one of the Quendi: "Besides, on Christmas, all Santa has to compete with is the birth of Jesus. At Alabama, he'd have to compete with the legacy of the Bear . . . which shouldn't be as big a deal as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies and the coming of our Lord and Savior, but, well, you know how those Alabama people are. . . ."
Santa Claus, who was out of town on business, could not be reached for comment. Naturally, the Crimson Tide faithful took the absence of a forthright denial from St. Nick as confirmation that he will, in fact, succeed Mike Shula as the new head coach of the Crimson Tide.
Alabama message boards are lit up like a Christmas tree at this hour, as participants post competing wild-eyed theories regarding the desirability of the head coaching position for the jolly symbol of the season.
Wrote one fan, posting only under the name "RollTideBear4Ever":
All the fans were drinking whiskey in happy celebration
Of the 2007 national title, 'cause now Santa's on our side!
Merry Christmas! Go Santa! Bite me, Tuberville! Roll Tide!
Although some fans were confused by the use of the term "St. Nick," believing erroneously that it made reference to Miami Dolphins head coach Nick Saban, other fans were quite clear that Santa Claus was the intended target of the ongoing coaching search . . . and they were not impressed.
The message board poster identifying himself or herself as "RIPBearAllDownhillSince82RollTide" wrote for many fans when he or she posted the comment, "Santa Claus?!?! Were [sic.] supppsd [sic.] too [sic.] setle [sic.] four [sic.] Santa Claus?!?! We need a hed [sic.] coach w/ prior coaching exp.! Santa Claus isn't good enough to coach @ Bama!"
Added the commenter: "Roll Tide!"