It was only a month ago that I told Tennessee Volunteers fans in this very space that coach Lane Kiffin was somehow going to screw his team. I wrote that, whether it be by bringing sanctions down on the Vols football program or his otherwise ridiculous mouth bringing more reproach on the Vols, it was going to happen.
I was cursed. I was called every name in the book on the story. Sure, the story reached over 9,000 reads, but when I called for Kiffin to be fired, Vols fans spared no expense to call me a heretic.
Well, Vols fans, Lane Kiffin was officially in it for Lane Kiffin. Should you be shocked? Absolutely not.
Kiffin came to the Vols with all the bravado of a roaring lion. After a 7-6 season, Kiffin now bolts for ready-made success at USC. Hopefully he destroys their program instead of ours.
Believe me, Vols fans, this is a blessing in disguise. It's going to hurt for a while, because the piece of trash has officially left Tennessee in a terrible place, but we'll get over it. And the Vols will be better for it.
In recent days I had begun to defend Kiffin again. After covering the team in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, I had almost taken a liking to Kiffin again.
However, I will point to one thing. Call me crazy if you want.
Look at the recent off-the-field issues with the football team. Remember the incident that happened on the Thursday before the Ole Miss game? Remember how the Vols came out completely flat against the Rebels?
Remember when LaMarcus Coker lay on the ground motionless in the waning moments of that game? Remember seeing Lane Kiffin standing on the sideline, nowhere near his ailing player?
Remember getting completely trounced 42-17 in that game?
Fast-forward to last Sunday. Just barely a week after losing four key players, one of which was Vols basketball star Tyler Smith, Bruce Pearl coached his team to a triumphant victory over No. 1 Kansas.
I knew it then, but did not want to say it.
That's exactly what a coach does. A coach rallies the troops. A coach doesn't allow his men to come out flat and listless against a good opponent.
Bruce Pearl is a coach. Lane Kiffin isn't even close.
We'll tackle the possibilities of the next Tennessee coach in another article later on tonight. But for now, let's just be glad that Lane Kiffin is no longer Tennessee's problem.