Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Kiffin uses Rocky Top to get to the Top

This college football season just keeps giving. Just when we all thought the Pete Carroll story was the crowning glory, Lane Kiffin reappears. It’s not much surprise that Kiffin needed some attention; he’s been forgotten in the wake of Urban Meyer and now Pete Carroll making their announcements. In fact it looked like Kiffin’s Tennessee Volunteers could be one of the favorites for the SEC east next year. He would most likely not be competing against Meyer and definitely not against Tim Tebow, meaning the Gators would be rebuilding. Nobody knows how Georgia are going to fare with a new QB and new defensive coordinator and Steve Spurrier’s magic is yet to work on South Carolina. That leaves the certainties being Vanderbilt and Kentucky, well, yes. Kiffin was also making significant gains in recruiting, especially in his border war with Georgia; they rank in the top 10 on both Rivals and Scout. Kiffin was moving Tennessee back to national prominence, whether you like or agree with his methods is a matter of personal choice. In his earlier tenure as a coach and coordinator at USC Kiffin had proved a highly effective recruiter, very early in his career he proved he wasn’t a suit and tie kindda guy and he was a different breed to the Meyers and Sabans of the world. This interested recruits. His brash talk and promises to the Vol faithful were drunk up by everyone involved in that programme, a new sense of confidence was building amongst players, administrators, fans and alumni. In what looks a down year for the SEC east the Orange looked best placed to make a run.

With one phone call a school on the other side of the country had changed the balance of power in the SEC. Kiffin claims that the USC job was the only one he would have left Tennessee for and it just so happened that was the one that opened. Not only will the conductor of controversy be leaving Knoxville he’s taking the whole orchestra with him. His Dad and Yoda like figure Monte Kiffin will leave the Tennessee defensive coordinator job for the same one at USC. Ed Orgeron will become Trojans recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach, leaving that same position open at the Volunteers. This is more than just coaches who are leaving however, we are three weeks away fro nation signing day and Kiffin just disillusioned the 22 commits that the University of Tennessee had. If your from any of the surrounding states and had offers closer to home, they might look a whole lot more appealing than going to an unstable programme who have the NCAA on constant red alert, thanks to Mr Kiffin.

Out of nowhere the Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators have got a whole lot more encouragement about the competition for the SEC east. Tennessee may still be good and if they land Will Muschamp of Texas then they vault to being my favorite again but, until they do that, they look as if there about to fall apart at the seams. The student reaction to Kiffin’s announcement (burning mattresses, defacing ’The Rock’ and attempting to invade his news conference) show exactly how Vol nation feels about the coach with the big mouth and bigger ego. Kiffin came, promised much, delivered little more than violations and left; his wallet bigger, his reputation smaller and an entire school and football programme deflated. And no one could be happier than the SEC.

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