In the Blue Corner, standing with two BCS Championships in the last three years, and a record of 47 wins and nine losses as the head coach of the Florida Gators, the 2004 Woody Hayes Coach of The Year Award Winner...URRRRBAAAAANN MEYYYYYYERRRRRRRR!
In the Orange Corner, standing with a 5-15 record as an NFL Head Coach and a record of one win and two losses as the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, winner of a public reprimand from SEC Commissioner Mike Slive...LAAAAAAAAANE KIFFFFFFEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!
Now who wins this battle on paper, the Mashing Meyer or Cocky Kiffin? We all know who wins thebattle this year. Meyer has proved he does it better than anyone in the SEC East and possibly all of football. But who wins the battle in the long run?
In Knoxville, Tennessee streets on campus are more often than not named after famous sports figures that did great things at UT. (Robert) Neyland Drive, Todd Helton Drive, Phillip Fulmer Way, Pat Summit Drive, and, my favorite street name, Peyton Manning Pass. All of these people are legends who did great and drastic things in their time at UT, and Lane Kiffin is trying to be the next street name.
To be named as one of the great Vols of all time, one needs to take their team to the top, all the way to the top. Lane Kiffin is starting from the bottom, all the way down at the bottom.
Five wins from a year ago has been the lowest total in recent history and a less than stellar team was inherited after Fulmer's retirement.
Instead of turning down the job, Kiffin brought a program out of the shadow of Florida and Alabama in the SEC to being important once again.
By jabbing at Meyer in his first day on the job, he got UT back in the news. People started to look around the SEC and say "What is Kiffin doing over there?"
Then Kiffin brought up Nu'Keese-gate. Although he got in trouble for saying that Urban Meyer tried to illegaly recruit top-prospect Nu'Keese Richardson, he once again got Tennessee in the news.
I am from New York and am looking at colleges as a senior in High School. I have always wanted to go to a big football school. Texas, Georgia, and Florida were always on my list. Those schools have been seen in the sports scene for years in New York as they are consistently on top.
One school I never thought I would apply for...University of Tennessee.
Not only am I applying to Tennessee, it is one of my top choices.
As someone from New York, I do not see the University of Tennessee in my average college search. I don't see it in my average New York Sports news. I don't see anything involving the entire state of Tennessee...ever.
But since Lane Kiffin has arrived on Rocky Top, Tennessee has been a hot topic in my daily football discussions at school. The Vols are now in the same discussions as the Gators, Dawgs, Horns, Trojans, Nittany Lions, and Buckeyes.
As an outsider, Kiffin's antics are not the most mature. Kirk Herbstreit even called them "child's play." But they are still getting the Vols in the news.
Urban Meyer is saying things back that, in my opinion, are more child like. His team is on top and if he said nothing, Gator Football is still a hot topic.
In the long run, I declare the winner of this battle to be Kiffin. The publicity that he has brought to a football program that has not had to much to be proud of recently will bring in top recruits and in the end, more money to the school, which is the whole purpose of these teams in the end.
This fight is not a knockout and will probably go the full amount of rounds and by split-decision. In five years, we will look back at the situation that took place this year and possibly put Kiffin above Meyer, but this will not happen overnight.