The Sweep

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When it comes to Steve Spurrier and the Florida football program ... well ... it's complicated.
Bob Rosato/SI

The economic crisis has made divorce even more painful among the wealthy, according to The New York Times. But it you're a college football fan, you already knew that. You've been watching high-dollar marriages between coaches and schools crumble for years, and you know that the only thing more painful than the divorce itself is the inevitable reunion.

It seems as if those reunions are happening more frequently lately thanks to an accelerated hiring/firing cycle. The past month has seen two high-profile, high-awkwardness reunions. Saturday, we'll get two more. Here's a look at those reunions and how they might compare to actual dissolved marriages.

Notre Dame at Washington, Oct. 25
Divorcees: Washington coach Tyrone Willingham and Notre Dame


Willingham and Notre Dame had a whirlwind romance, and those first 10 months were smoldering, but the fire soon fizzled. By the middle of Year 3, they were sleeping in separate beds, and they didn't speak except to keep up appearances at cocktail parties. After the divorce, they both remarried. Notre Dame fell hard again, locking down her new spouse with a giant postnuptial agreement. But she's a fickle lady, and it seems she's got the wandering eye again. Still, that didn't stop her from pointing out all of Willingham's flaws during a visit to the ex and his new spouse. So scathing was Ms. Dame in her critique that Washington up and dumped Willingham a few days later.

Alabama at LSU, Nov. 8
Divorcees: Nick Saban and LSU


LSU didn't even know anything was wrong until Saban left her at the Capital One Bowl in Orlando in January 2005. She immediately married the rebound guy, and he had himself a fine time playing with all the goodies Saban left lying around the house. Then Saban got tired of that floozy in Miami and, in the dead of night, he eloped with LSU's sister, Alabama. Naturally, LSU freaked. She took a little bit of solace when she beat her sister at last year's family reunion, but she knew Saban would be working hard, improving big sister's looks and self esteem and preparing her for the second meeting. By the time the happy couple reached Baton Rouge last week, Saban had turned the old girl into an uber-confident supermodel.

South Carolina at Florida, Saturday
Divorcees: Steve Spurrier and Florida


This one's complicated. Spurrier and Florida didn't appear to have any major issues, but both of them knew they needed to split up in early 2002. And even though Florida passed on the chance to take him back in 2004, they still love each other. Were these actual divorced partners, they'd be the most likely to meet surreptitiously at the hotel where they had their honeymoon, have a torrid fling and then head back to their current spouses without ever breathing a word about the passion shared that afternoon. Of course, Spurrier and Florida are so proud that they wouldn't let their old feelings get in the way of a good, old-fashioned screaming match at Florida Field.

UCLA at Washington, Saturday
Divorcees: Rick Neuheisel and Washington


This was the messiest divorce of them all. Neuheisel didn't want to leave Washington, but Washington threw him out of the house after catching him flirting with some strumpet in San Francisco and then playing in an NCAA tournament pool with his buddies when he should have been watching the kids. So, to get even, Neuheisel burned down the house. We all know Washington didn't do so well with her rebound guy, but Neuheisel probably didn't have to rub salt in the wound this week by saying Washington would have been better off had she stayed with him.

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