In a world where Brittany Spears constitutes good music, Nancy Pelosi can be chosen Speaker of the House and Oprah Winfrey can be anointed America’s moral compass, it should really come as no surprise that Southern Cal headed to East Tennessee to find its new coach. Still, it comes as something of a mild shock to see USC officials pick former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin as its new coach. Has anyone in the history of college football gotten more for doing less than the boy wonder from Fresno State?
If I wear the orange and white, I feel like I’ve escaped an assassin’s bullet. Rarely in college coaching do programs get a free do over so quickly. Not only did Tennessee get rid of a boy hired to do a man’s job, they also pocketed a little buyout money – not bad for a Wednesday night in January.
Go ahead and fess up now Vol fans. Admit it. After Kiffin’s introductory press conference 14 months ago, you knew right away that Rocky Top had a made a huge mistake. Doogie Howser was in the house.
Let Kiffin crow to the Los Angeles media about how much better the program is now than when he inherited it. SEC fans know better. Alabama just thought Auburn people were bad about claiming moral victories. Kiffin cited two of them – Alabama and Florida – during his USC introduction. There was however, no mention of the Volunteers 19-15 home loss to new rival, UCLA.
As this college football drama continues, Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp becomes a more interesting character by the day. In what has become standard fare, Muschamp quickly told Tennessee officials where it could stick its lucrative offer. Promises being promises, Muschamp is leaving a lot of money on the table this off-season while he sits as “coach in waiting” in Austin.
Making a little more than a $1 million annually, it’s fair to say that he’s leaving at least $2 million a year on the table while he waits for Mack Brown to quit singing Texas Fight. Either he’s crazy like a fox or just simply a Georgia graduate.
Being from Atlanta, you would think the Tennessee job would be more appealing to Muschamp than Texas. While the Longhorns unquestionably have the better program now, Tennessee offers Muschamp an opportunity to return to the SEC and coach close to home. It’s hard to understand his rationale for remaining in Texas.
Meanwhile back on the Plains, Gene Chizik, perceived to be the worst hire in college football last year, continues to quietly march along toward a top five recruiting class. Oh yeah, he also won a New Year’s Day bowl game and he’s yet to publicly insult Nick Saban or Urban Meyer, but he did scare the hell out of the latter in late November.
It’s funny how perception vs. reality plays out in life. Who would have thought back in December of 2008 that Gene Chizik and Miss State’s Dan Mullen would end up being better hires than the misunderstood and mistreated Kiffin?
A year into his tenure, Chizik is the rock of stability in the SEC. Who would have thought it?