Well well, what a 27th birthday indeed! I figured my birthday would be as good a day as any to start a new blog, rambling about Tennessee, movies, video games, etc. I just never thought it would start off like this.
I was announcing a basketball game at my high school when I got a text telling me that Kiffin had taken the job at USC. My first reaction was not one of surprise like so many of my Tennessee friends have had. Maybe it is because I am a little bit of a cynic and really never believed that Kiffin bought into the whole Tennessee family. I told my parents two months ago that the only other head coaching job Kiffin would take would be at Southern California. I just didn't think that the job would open up so soon.
In reality it is a better job for Lane Kiffin to be the head coach at USC. You can be a little more laid back in the Pac-10 than you can in the SEC, where you have to be on your game 24/7 and fans live and die by every little rumor that they hear. Also, at USC all Kiffin has to do is recruit the state of California and the Trojans will have a competitive team every year, instead of having to recruit against Florida, LSU, Alabama, Georgia, and the rest of the SEC for every five star recruit.
My first reaction was actually of disappointment. I felt really upset for the Tennessee players who will be under their third head coach in as many years. The reaction on campus and in the players' meeting when Kiffin told his players he was leaving was one of betrayal. No surprise there, as the players believed Kiffin would be in Knoxville long enough to at least to see his first recruiting class graduate.
Fans in Big Orange Country are not used to seeing this happen either. Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer were on Rocky Top a combined 32 years, so loyalty and longevity are big in the minds of the Tennessee faithful.
Tennessee fans may feel hurt, but you have to take off the orange shaded glasses and realize this is the college football world we live in. Coaching promises mean nothing anymore. Fans will just have to understand that Tennessee will probably go out and do the same thing USC just did and get a coach from another school. Fans at UW-Milwaukee were not happy with Tennessee after we hired Bruce Pearl in 2005. This is just the nature of the beast.
Now the ball is back in Tennessee's court. AD Mike Hamilton will have to find a new head coach who will not only have to clean up the mess that Kiffin left on his way out, but salvage a recruiting class with only three weeks left until National Signing Day.
On top of all that is the 2010 football schedule. Not only does Tennessee have to go through the usual wars in the SEC, but the defending Pac-10 champion Oregon Ducks come calling in week two.
Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday yesterday! I look forward to all of your comments!