It was just a few weeks ago that here at College Sports Matchups we recapped the year in college football noting that there was little left that could surprise us for the balance of the year. Wow. We were wrong. Here are a few items we did not see coming.
Lane Kiffin is now the head coach at Southern Cal?
While it was our belief all along that he would do whatever was necessary during his tenure at Tennessee to be the next head man for the Trojans when Pete Carroll left, we did not think it would be now.
When Carroll made his NFL intentions known we thought Kiffin would be one of the most disappointed people in the nation given that he would probably not even be considered for the job this early in his career.
Really, did you not think he should have actually accomplished something besides several secondary infractions and a few close games before becoming the head man at USC?
Which bring us to the departure of Carroll to Seattle.
In his earlier NFL tenure the results produced by the former Trojan boss were less than spectacular. His career record is a bland 33-31 with two playoff appearances with the Patriots.
Why is Carroll leaving Southern Cal to become the head coach of the Seahawks?
Start with the money, but don’t just consider the additional coin in his pocket. He has had the opportunity to make lots of money in the NFL several times.
College coaches tend to know when it is time to exit a program and usually one of two reasons is at the heart of the timing: Talent on hand or NCAA issues.
In the case of USC it might just be a combination of both. It would seem PAC 10 schools are catching up with the Trojans (at last) and the NCAA seems ready to make an example of USC athletics.
Of course the attention the NCAA is paying to USC makes the hiring of Kiffin even more interesting.
The young coach earned more NCAA attention than most schools want in just under a year in Knoxville, and the governing body is currently looking into the use of recruiting hostesses in off campus visits by the Vols. This makes the decision to bring Kiffin to Southern Cal even more interesting.
Meanwhile in other news…
Texas Tech fired Mike Leach and replaced him with former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville. In a demonstration of his commitment to be wide open with the football, Tuberville hired Troy offensive coordinator Neal Brown to run the offense for the Red Raiders.
This seems like a movie we have seen before.
That is the same school he hired Tony Franklin from to put the spread in place at Auburn. You will remember that relationship ended with Tuberville firing Franklin in the middle of the season because he lacked the intestinal fortitude to allow Franklin to actually run his offense at Auburn.
So, Tech will go from throwing the ball 75 times in a game to utilizing the forward pass that many times in a season.
Jim Leavitt, the only coach South Florida has ever known, was let go for allegedly striking a player.
Here is the rub.
The coach denies it.
The player denies it.
A university investigation says he did it.
Who really knows?
This one is heading for courts and that is where we will find out what actually happened. This is unlike Texas Tech where even Mike Leach has not denied putting James in the dark.
At this time it seems that South Florida would like for Tony Dungy to step in and be the man, but that is just not going to happen.
Look for a strong play to be made for Skip Holtz of East Carolina. The son of Lou Holtz has done a tremendous job with the Pirates and is facing the departure of several key players from his team. Remember; make the jump when the talent pool is looking shallow.
That concludes the surprises for now.
Hold on though, Kentucky basketball is undefeated right now and we might be talking soon about a freshman guard leading the Wildcats far into the NCAA tournament, going pro and John Calipari moving to a new school.
Forget it. That would never happen.