Archive for USC

Lane Kiffin Bolts Tennessee After One Season While Al Davis Says, “I Told You So”

Posted in College Football, Rants, Sports with tags , , , , on January 12, 2010 by thelasthonestman

"This is the job I've been waiting for ... really ... at least until I find a better one next year."

The truth be told, I’ve been highly critical of Al Davis more times in the past than I can count.  I’ve made the “Weekend at Al’s” jokes, I’ve claimed that the Oakland Raiders owner is really deceased, and that Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman are merely puppet-mastering him behind the scenes.  I’ve derided Davis for his heavy-handed approach to running the Raiders, for the game having passed him by, for his insane drafting decisions, and most recently his apparent ridiculous commitment to JaMarcus Russell under center.

But tonight, I have to say it:  Al was right.  100%.  About Lane Kiffin, that is.

You might remember Davis’s rambling press conference after he removed Kiffin from the head coaching position in Oakland, and how the elderly owner denounced Kiffin at every turn.  Davis called Kiffin, among other things, a “flat-out liar” guilty of bringing “disgrace to the organization”.  At the time, the popular belief was that Kiffin was a coach who’d been wronged, and that Davis was merely a senile, old fool who’d driven away a bright young football mind.

I won’t debate here whether or not Davis has seen his better days as both an owner and a judge of football talent, but when essentially describing Kiffin as a person lacking in character — well, it’s become pretty apparent he nailed that one on the head, whether by accident or design.  After leaving the Raiders, Kiffin landed the head job at the University of Tennessee, replacing Phillip Fulmer, who had been forced out there despite having won the school a national championship in 1998 (which begs the question now — how’s that decision looking, Tennessee boosters?).  It didn’t take long for Kiffin to find himself in hot water at his new home — whether it was engaging in a verbal feud with Urban Meyer or belittling the choices of college recruits who decided to go somewhere other than Tennessee, Kiffin was quickly stirring up controversies — even if he wasn’t delivering a whole lot of victories to go with them.  In his one season at Tennessee, Kiffin managed to insult a lot of people, act generally like a buffoon desperately in need of some lessons as to how to carry himself with some class, and … and well, not much else.  At least, the Volunteer program isn’t on probation for anything that happened during Kiffin’s brief tenure — not yet.

Don't be surprised if you get stung by one of these -- and don't be surprised at Lane Kiffin leaving Tennessee after only one season

And just like that, Kiffin is off to USC.  Is anyone really surprised?  While Kiffin’s still hasn’t actually won anything as a head coach, he’s now in charge of one of the premier programs in the country — of course, it may be a program that’s headed onto probation before the ink’s had time to dry on his new contract,  While I don’t feel sorry for the Tennessee faithful — like the fable about the scorpion and the frog, Tennessee knew (or should have known) exactly what Kiffin was when they started dealing with him — the consolation is that they’ll be better off without the loud-mouthed coach.  The program is still an attractive one, and they’ll be able to find someone who — you know — might actually want to stay there.

On the other hand, considering the recent history of USC and their apparent lack of ethics in running their athletic programs, Kiffin should fit right in — at least until he’s jumping ship in California in a few short years (after he finds out how recruiting with a reduction in scholarships, as well as an improved Pac-10, makes for more trouble than he realizes).   And somewhere Al Davis will be laughing manically, telling us all how he knew it all along.


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Deserting The Ship

Posted in College Football, News/Current Events, NFL Football, Sports with tags , , , , , , on January 9, 2010 by thelasthonestman

It's time to abandon ship -- where's your life preserver?

Is it really such a big surprise that USC head football coach Pete Carroll is apparently leaving the school to return to the NFL, this time as the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks?

If you had been listening to sports radio or television yesterday, you would have thought so.  The revelation of the breaking story, coming only a few hours after the announcement that first year Seattle coach Jim Mora, Jr. had been fired after only one season in the Pacific Northwest, was treated as a huge development — almost a shock.

Well, I’m about as surprised as I would be if another blonde bombshell showed up on television claiming to have slept with Tiger Woods while he was married.  Anyone who’s been following the developments at USC over the last year shouldn’t be surprised either.  The fiasco surrounding Reggie Bush and his years at the football power may finally be coming to a conclusion in the setting of a public court — and that possibility means nothing but potential trouble for the Trojan athletic program.  More than likely, we’re going to hear testimony in the upcoming months about the illegal “rewards” the former Heisman Trophy winner received while at the university, and that’s testimony that the NCAA will be more than happy to use against USC when it comes time to wrap up its own investigation of the athletic program.

Couple the Bush mess with the allegations surrounding Joe McKnight and his alleged connections with boosters in violation of NCAA rules — allegations that were potentially damning enough to send the junior tailback scurrying to make himself available for the upcoming NFL draft — and it’s not hard to connect the dots of both this NCAA investigation and the one of Bush and come up with an end game that leaves USC looking at probation, a loss of scholarships, and the forfeiture of victories (and possibly the team’s National Championship).  All of this could mean that USC suddenly won’t be the great place to coach in the immediate future that it’s been during Carroll’s tenure there (and that doesn’t even touch on the O.J. Mayo problems, which while not an issue with the football program, have still helped focus the microscope on the university in ways it would much rather not be the case).

So again, Carroll abandoning ship just as it’s beginning to take on water shouldn’t surprise anyone — after all, looking after themselves first is what the college football coach does best.  On the bright side for the athletes who’ve made commitments to the school already — well, at least there’s time for most of them to get paid look to head somewhere else.

And for Carroll, the move back to the NFL is a no-brainer, and a no-lose situation.  He’s going to be showered with money by Seattle owner Paul Allen, so there will be no worry on his part that he’ll be taking a lateral move financially by leaving his current position and its hefty $4.4 million salary.  And he’ll be getting a degree of organizational control in Seattle as well, something that he reportedly had claimed would be necessary for him to consider returning to the NFL.

Best of all (for him), if he doesn’t do any better this time around than he did in his previous stops with New England and the Jets, once he’s pocketed the money, he’ll still be an incredibly attractive coaching prospect for pretty much any big-time football program that’s looking to make a splash, so there won’t be any concerns about his finding work back at the collegiate level.   It would be ironic if, by the time Carroll is being introduced at the press conference of whatever football factory that turns out to be, USC is just coming off of the program sanctions they’re staring in the face.  Ironic — but as already stated — not surprising at all.