This just in: At 5:51 p.m., the USC Trojan Blog reports that Tennessee's Lane Kiffin will be the new coach of USC. Fight on, baby; they never left!
We think Kiffin will work because he is bringing his father, Monte Kiffin (a very close friend of former coach Pete Carroll), to coach the Trojan defense. This is huge because the aggressive attacking defense will stay in place, thus more than likely keeping the recruits who are looking to make an impact in the pros.
Kiffin will also bring back former USC recruiting guru Ed Orgeron. The highly respected Orgeron was the lead voice to Trojan recruits when he served Carroll and the USC staff earlier last decade.
Kiffin would also assure present USC players and recruits that the pro-style offense USC has used to dominate the PAC 10, BCS and particularly the Rose Bowl for several years will remain in place. Quarterback Matt Barkley is ideally suited to play in this style of offense, and a coach not sold out to Barkley's strength could spell disaster next year.
Kiffin brings a buzz to the Trojan campus because he served Carroll's staff in the glory years, and Monte Kiffen taught Carroll how to coach defense.
The move puts the Trojan faithful at ease that the program is moving in the same direction and the players and recruits in the mindset that USC will still be USC.
This is what ever-elusive USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett said:
"We are really excited to welcome Lane Kiffin back to USC. I was able to watch him closely when he was an assistant with us, and what I saw was a bright, creative young coach who I thought would make an excellent head coach here if the opportunity ever arose. I'm confident he and his staff will keep USC football performing at the high level that we expect.
"Lane brings a lot to the table. He has a coaching background both in the pros and in the best collegiate conferences. He has a great command of the X's and O's. He is familiar with the Trojan landscape and will be a great representative of our university. He keeps the game fun. And, very importantly, he has proven to be one of the finest recruiters anywhere.
"Lane has surrounded himself with others of similar talent. I can't tell you how delighted we are to have Ed Orgeron back on staff and to have Monte Kiffin join us. They are some of the preeminent coaches in the game. Ed did a marvelous job during his previous time at USC, and we all know that Monte is a defensive guru. I know Lane will fill out his staff with other outstanding assistants like them, ones who Trojan players and fans will really like."
There is a downside to Kiffin. Several L.A. sportscasters complained over the years that he was not an engaging personality. Many were surprised that he landed the Raider gig and then shocked that he was selected as the coach of high-profile Tennessee.
Kiffen was accused of, shall we say, bending NCAA rules and, particularly, etiquette with respect to other coaches in the SEC. USC is a high-profile school equal to or greater than any SEC school (L.A. is the second-largest market in the country), so Kiffen's big job will be to win. He doesn't need to shoot off his mouth to gain attention.
But folks, this is not about Kiffen.
All of his negatives are neutralized by the people surrounding him. His father will lend credibility to the program because he is, well, Monte Kiffen. Ed Orgeron will stabilize recruiting and bring in the recruits.
And now, this just in: Shelley Smith of ESPN has just confirmed that Norm Chow has agreed to bolt UCLA and come back as USC's offensive coordinator. All of you USC haters can now just take a back seat because you have Chow, the biggest void in the Carroll era, back in the fold. USC will be USC.
Rick Neuheisel gets hosed! Tennessee is a SEC team, so we are happy for its sudden void. So please bring it on, all of you UCLA and SEC hacks!
We are excited, but face it. USC is not back; they haven't gone anywhere. Alabama would have been happy with 9-4, oh, three years ago. Beware the rest of college football!
We also hope Kiffin will be a big proponent of a college football playoff . We have an excellent plan that we intend to discuss with him at an appropriate time. Fight on, and now we can just continue business as usual.