First, let me apologize to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin for the title of this column. I know it's tough to read that kind of headline about your kid, but as they say, if truth was a knife it would cut the deepest.
Monte, your kid is a scumbag. Make no mistake, I claim absolutely no loyalty to the University of Tennessee; in fact, it's quite the opposite. As a member of the Gator Nation, I enjoy seeing Tennessee fan suffer. I get a kick out of the Vols failing at anything. It has pleased me to see the Urban Legend own the fatman and the big mouth all of these years.
But in the immortal words of Helen Slater's Billie Jean (yes, men, she did actually speak), "Fair is Fair" and what Lane Kiffin did to Tennessee is far from fair.
Now, let's admit something. Tennessee is not USC. USC is the closest thing to professional football they have in Los Angeles. It is one of "The" jobs in college football.
Still, the University of Tennessee is not Catwalaga State over here. It's a powerhouse school in the nation's best conference. A school that has won National Championships, put players in the NFL pro bowl, and has a rich tradition.
After Phil Fulmer lost his mojo, Tennessee had fallen on hard times. They couldn't compete with Florida, Georgia, and Alabama any more. Even Florida fans had written off the Vols as another Kentucky or Vandy—an easy "W" on the way to the meat of the schedule.
Meanwhile, Lane Kiffin was flaming out in Oakland, being fired with cause because he was allegedly a liar.At least that's how Oakland's vampiric owner Al Davis told it.
"It didn't have anything to do with winning," Davis said. "It had to with personality. It's the first time I ever let anyone go based on what I call just being a flat-out liar."
Kiffin was accused of undermining fellow coaches on the staff, players, and even Count Dracula himself.
When Tennessee decided to pull the plug on Fulmer, Kiffin came in full of bravado. As he talked tough about the team in Gainesville and the SEC, he was busy torpedoing Jon Gruden's career at Tampa Bay.
Kiffin begged his dad, Monte, to join him in Knoxville, guilting the elder Kiffin into leaving a job he excelled at for ten years. The Bucs were 9-3 and had a top-10 defense in the NFL when Monte announced that he was leaving.
They finished 9-7, with the defense putting up the worst numbers they ever had in the Kiffin era, and cost Jon Gruden his job. It ushered in an extensive rebuild mode for the franchise and ended "the salad days" for Buccaneer fans.
Gee, thanks, Lane.
Kiffin followed that up by lying about Urban Meyer, claiming the Legend was committing numerous NCAA violations, none of which Kiffin could substantiate and eventually he was censored by the conference for.
Then Kiffin himself got into hot water with NCAA for numerous infractions.
Still, Vols fans didn't care because the tough talkin' young coach brought in a great first recruiting class led by Nu'Keese Richardson and Bryce Brown, he was putting up his middle finger to Meyer and had the entire fanbase believing they could finally beat Florida. He made the Vols relevant again.
Unfortunately for the Vols, not only did they not beat the Gators, but Richardson (along with some of his teammates) was arrested and eventually dismissed from school, and Tennessee struggled to 7-6. Certainly better than Phil Fulmer's last effort but not enough to back up the stuff coming out of Boy Wonder's mouth.
Gee, thanks Lane.
To their credit, the Volunteer fanbase stood behind their coach and the school was poised for another solid recruiting class.
That was until Lane did it again—stabbing AD Mike Hamilton in the back and bolting to USC to take the place of Pete Carroll, who left for the non-sanctioning confines of the National Football League.
Tennessee's recruiting class is now in shambles, the players who came to play for Kiffin last year feel betrayed and the fanbase has been left in utter shock.
Gee, thanks Lane.
It was an interesting hire for USC. Rumor has it Carroll knows some big time sanctions are coming down the pike for the Trojans and that's why he lept at the first NFL shot he got this year, which happened to be in Seattle.
So, instead of hiring a clean cut guy to repair an already damaged image, USC hires Kiffin—the backstabbing (allegedly), two faced (allegedly), lying (allegedly), NCAA violator who Petrino'd one school and has has more bark than bite.
Buyer Beware, USC.