Imagine my shock and utter amazement at seeing the news of Urban Meyer's resignation scrolling across the Bottom Line on ESPN while watching the Meineke Bowl.
Urban Meyer, the coach that Tennessee never could figure out (He went 5-0 against the Vols). The single most successful head coach of the last five years resigns out of nowhere. And who can blame him!? It's not everyday that you lose the greatest player in the history of college football to graduation. I can see all sorts of health problems stemming from that.
Most of all, from a Tennessee fans perspective, my immediate thoughts shifted to Lane Kiffin. After all, it was the Lane Train who called Meyer out for "cheating" this past offseason. It was Lane who threw constant verbal jabs over everything from the Gators suffering from flu to Meyer's disciplinary tactics (or the lack thereof).
With the big boy on the SEC East block gone, who will Kiffin pick on now?
In my mind the preliminary favorites include Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, and Les Miles.
Spurrier was the Mouth of the South long before Kiffin ever opened his and the preseason posturing between the two over David Reaves leaving Spurrier's squad for Kiffin's was a lesson in old school SEC trash talk.
Nick Saban is at the top of the SEC coaching heap once again. (Funny how Meyer's rise and Saban's short-lived NFL venture coincided, huh. And now that Saban is back and has his team at the top, Meyer leaves.) But if Kiffin's "explanation" of calling out Meyer because he had the premier SEC team holds true, Saban has to be his next mark.
How about Les Miles? The Vols pick up LSU for the next two seasons and Miles is by all accounts a rather easy target. He pretty much brings a lot on himself anyway so I'd see Miles as easy pickings for a guy like Kiffin.
Some other less-than-likely marks would obviously include Mark Richt at Georgia. After the way things went this year, however, choosing him to pick on would seem too easy.
Houston Nutt, Dan Mullen, and Gene Chizik are pretty much out of the running since the Vols rarely see those coaches and their teams. Rich Brooks and Bobby Johnson fall under the too easy category as well.
In the end I think it will come down to Spurrier and Saban. I would caution against Saban since he's a freakin' genius and has lost to the Vols exactly once in six tries.
To me it has to be Spurrier. The former Evil Genius himself has struggled mightily at South Carolina as compared to his glory years at Florida and no one whose opinion matters see's that changing anytime soon.
Of course if Florida is thinking like me right now, Spurrier would be at the top of my chart for replacing Meyer. I mean, why not? He's been there. If not for his foundation of success Meyer would likely not have had the success he had in his short time in Gainesville.
Spurrier roaming the sidelines for Florida again would be interesting to say the least. And in this writer's opinion it would seal the deal as to who Kiffin's next whipping boy would be.
At least this time it would be one that he can beat.