I didn’t think I was physically capable of pity for Vols, but the unfurling Armageddon at Tennessee is making for all kinds of amazements. Lane Kiffin is choosing to take French leave of a program that hired him off a 5-15 record in the NFL (where Al Davis called him “a flat-out liar”) after a single 7-6 season where his signature victory was managing to only lose to Alabama by 2 points.
The immortal Spencer Hall has the full rundown here; the most shocking and appalling thing in all this to me is this:
1) There are Tennessee recruits on campus who enrolled early to be in spring practice.
2) Classes start tomorrow.
3) Despite being registered for classes, these players are not considered “enrolled” until classes start.
4) Ed Orgeron, the Kiffy assistant who is also going to USC, was calling around to these recruits during Kiffy’s “press conference,” telling them not to go to class tomorrow – that if they didn’t, they would not be enrolled, and they would be welcome to leave UT and head for scholarships at USC in the fall.
This is absolutely the most bewildering thing I have seen in thirty-seven years of college football fandom. Lane Kiffin’s total record as a head coach is 12-21: 5-15 with the Raiders and a poor 7-6 with UT. He also racked up not one, not two, but SEVEN self-reported NCAA recruiting violations, not counting the shenanigans surrounding the “Orange Pride” girls going across state lines to cheer for possible recruits. Nor counting the felony arrests connected with the Great Prius Caper. Nor counting the buffoonery of bragging about NCAA scrutiny, or leveling accusations against other programs that drew the wrath of the SEC authorities, or generally running his mouth in a fashion inconsistent with a coach who could best be described at this point in his career as anything but a “possibly promising mediocrity.” Lane Kiffin is a loudmouth douchebag who hasn’t demonstrated any particular aptitude for improving a football team. So why, why, WHY would the USC Trojans – staring down the barrel of an NCAA investigation that can no longer be ignored, one where Kiffin himself is potentially culpable with regard to the recruiting of Reggie Bush and Joe McKnight – why in the HELL would Mike Garrett even consider hiring this human ball of bullshit to run the football program in its hour of greatest peril?
There is absolutely no logic of any kind behind this decision. It defies all rational analysis. All we can say with certainly is as follows:
1) Lane Kiffin leaving Tennessee for Southern California has the potential to be the ruination of both schools.
2) Between this fiasco, the basketball team’s Alcohol-Weed-Guns problem, and the imminent disaster in recruiting, Tennessee’s athletic director is on some thin motherfucking ice.
3) The police guard outside Lane Kiffin’s house tonight is probably a sound move, although personally, if I were a Knoxville cop, I’d be wandering across the street to see if I heard an echo. Buy the ticket, take the ride…even if it comes on a rail.