Did Lane Kiffin's Shenanigans Work?
Is there anyway this is all part of some well thought out master plan by Boy Blunder and his League of Super Coaches?
If you check out the headlines and stories after the Florida-Tennessee game you can see he pulled a fast one on the media.
Lane Kiffin had every Gator fan circle Sept. 19 on their calendar with his remarks soon after being hired. I'll admit that I wished time would speed up so these two teams could strap on the helmets and play the off the field antics in The Swamp.
As the offseason passed, Kiffin started changing his tune and toned down his actions, saying he was doing what he need to do to get his team back on the College Football map.
Here is where the genius of Kiffin comes into play. In the second week of the season, you have UCLA travel across the country and beat your team in Neyland Stadium. Sure, this would get your fanbase fired up and put some heat on you, but since most Tennessee fans don't know there is a world west of Memphis, this loss would soon be forgotten.
By showing you couldn't beat a mid-level Pac-10 team, you got Vegas to put up a 30-point spread (which no SEC team should ever have). It's time to give the media an "ah shucks" and start talking about how great the Gators are.
Everybody is now set up for the blow out and only a 50-point win will satisfy most of the Gators fan base and media.
- ESPN.com's Pat Forde—Florida looks vulnerable in win, Tennessee looks tough in loss
- New York Times—A Letdown, but Not a Loss, for Florida
- Mike Strange—Loss, but not lost
- Orlando Sentinel, Mike Bianchi—Gators win but Kiffin's still laughing
- Palm Beach Post, Ben Volin—Tennessee frustrates Florida
- SI.com's Andy Staples—Florida scored more points, but this felt like a victory for Tennessee
So how do you keep from getting blown out by the Gators?
First, you clearly go into the game with no plans to throw the ball over five yards deep and hope your ground game can eat up clock. Somehow you knew you would catch a break with Deonte Thompson out due to a hamstring injury, and Jeff Demps, Aaron Hernandez, and Jermaine Cunningham all battling the flu.
Kiffin told Matt Hayes of SportingNews, "I started slowing down getting the plays to take time off the clock. I didn't want to tell our players what the plan was."
Coach Urban Meyer said that, Tennessee’s apparent lack of interest in actually winning the game, as opposed to keeping it close, meshed perfectly with Florida playing conservatively.
"It was unbelievable," he said of Tennessee’s ambivalent offense. "They were taking their time snapping the ball when they could go win the game. There was no two-minute drill."
The conservative game calling was just as catching, as the flu with Steve Addazio also unwilling to take any chances down field. Tim Tebow carried the bulk of the load with 24 rushing attempts, but it was an uncharacteristic Tebow fumble deep in Vol's territory allowing Tennessee to avoid their second 30-6 loss.
It's great to see the Vols Nation happy being mentioned as one of the best 1-2 teams in the nation. All is great since you didn't get embarrassed in Kiffin's first SEC game. What seems to be missed is the program has reached a level that a loss is considered a win in anyone's book.
It seems that the Vols have taken a page from Randy Shannon with the "This will help us more than you will ever know" philosophy.
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