Stoops Has Finally Killed The Unkillable Zombie Stoops-To-ND Rumors: Now What?

↵Notre Dame is nothing if not tradition, and they've started their coaching search in the traditional fashion by spawning a horde of unkillable zombie rumors about a head coach they have no chance of acquiring. Here's Bob Stoops reacting ↵to the news that he's going to be Notre Dame's head coach: ↵

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↵⇥"That's ridiculous," Stoops said Monday night following the Sooners' practice. ↵⇥

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↵Here's Stoops whacking the rumor in the face with a shovel and screaming "WHY WON'T YOU DIE?!?!": ↵

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↵⇥"I can't help what's said,” stated Stoops in a conference call with reporters. ↵⇥

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↵⇥"What I am saying is that I am going to be at Oklahoma next year!" ↵⇥

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↵⇥"I fully intend to be at Oklahoma and hopefully for a good while. You never know what the good lord brings you, but in the end I couldn't be more excited, even through a tough year, the quality of kids we are working with and the great people we work with daily in our administration," Stoops continued. ↵⇥

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↵Stoops left some ↵wiggle room in those statements, using the word "intend" and refusing to point-blank say he's not leaving, so the zombie lurched forward thanks to ESPN's Adam Schefter reporting that Stoops was the guy. Here's Stoops hastily loading a shotgun and aiming ↵for the head: ↵

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↵⇥“I don’t know where (Schefter) is getting his information, but it’s wrong,” Stoops said in a telephone interview. “It’s all been wrong.” ↵⇥

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↵⇥Schefter reported on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown that word around the NFL was that “Bob Stoops will wind up coaching Notre Dame, and he’s the leader in the clubhouse if they can get the details ironed out.” … ↵⇥

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↵⇥“He’s trying to cover his (Monday night) mistake,” Stoops said. ↵⇥“There were never any talks that broke down, because there were never ever any negotiations or details or plans for a meeting.” ↵⇥

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↵And here's Stoops placing a brick of C4 in the gaping hole left by the shotgun, running very far away, and pressing ↵the detonator: ↵

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↵⇥In a statement e-mailed by the university around 8 p.m. Monday, Stoops said, "I stand by the comments that I made earlier today. I will be at Oklahoma. Any reporting to the contrary is completely unfounded." ↵⇥

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↵Schefter, for his part, retracted the ESPN claim on Twitter. Are we clear on this yet? Bob Stoops is going to be at Oklahoma next year. Oklahoma. The state with the handle. Which is not Indiana. Someone please incinerate that arm creeping towards me, thanks. ↵

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↵Now that we are surrounded by gently descending vaporized gristle, who's left? Jon Gruden took ↵himself off the table immediately after the Navy game. Tony Dungy thinks ↵it's laughable, man. Gary Patterson just signed ↵a long-term extension. Someone got confused and asked Texas coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp about it—probably thought he was Stoops—and he shot ↵it down. ↵

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↵And Schefter was wrong above and coaching search "facts" have a way of shifting under your feet, but for now his latest intel is that Kelly ↵isn't the guy. Which… wow. The no-buyout guy who's recruited your geographical area for 20 years and met unprecedented success at three different schools is not immediately offered the job. This would be surprising if you'd been in a coma the last 15 years and had no idea who Notre Dame had hired in the meantime. ↵

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↵Who's left? Random guesses: ↵

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  • Brian Kelly. Yes, yes. Until Notre Dame hires someone else, Kelly will be a candidate because it makes sense. In his latest press conference he fielded five minutes of questions about Notre Dame and didn't even hint that he wasn't a candidate. If Notre Dame calls, he's gone.
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  • Chris Petersen. Boise State's coach is not, for the record, a Scientologist. But Boise State's previous exports are Dirk Koetter and Dan Hawkins. It's clear that success at Boise is a program effect, not a coaching one. Petersen would be a major risk.
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  • Jim Harbaugh. Seriously, seriously unlikely given Harbaugh's tendency to mouth off—something Notre Dame folk are probably leery of after "decided schematic advantage"—and Michigan background. Plus, his I-A coaching experience is encouraging but far from a slam dunk. Tyrone Willingham had more success at Stanford than Harbaugh's had to date.
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  • Kirk Ferentz. Coach for life at Iowa, and not a guy who seems like he'll move.
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  • Paul Johnson. Great success in just two years at Georgia Tech and a guy who turned Navy respectable, plus I-AA national titles. But the wrenching change from Weis's pro-style offense to Johnson's triple option freakshow would be reminiscent of Rich Rodriguez's first couple years at Michigan.
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  • Weis Part II, or Willingham Part II. Notre Dame wants a proven collegiate winner, but if they're not interested in Kelly there aren't really any hot coaching candidates out there in the aftermath of the Patterson extension. That means they'll have to scour the current coaching ranks for someone with middling success at a middling school or go back to the well of assistant coaches.
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↵If Kelly is really off the table, Notre Dame is going to head straight to tier III candidates. No one in the middle range is plausible for reasons beyond on-the-field coaching, and Notre Dame's been spectacularly poor at going off the board of late. The bet here is that Notre Dame comes around on the idea of a guy who's taking Cincinnati to untold heights once they find out the pickings are slim elsewhere. ↵Unfortunately, even Notre Dame will find this hard to screw up. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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