The SEC and Tennessee Versus Lane Kiffin: Who Won?

Jon Sarver@ IJanuary 20, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 13:  New head coach of the USC Trojans Lane Kiffin speaks to the media during a press conference at Heritage Hall January 13, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The mass hysteria over the Lane Kiffin exit mounts.  I can't help but continue to dive into it because it has been an eye opening study of human behavior.  Just today, Jim Rome was mocking Tennessee fans for being so fixated on the Kiffin departure.

The recent vitriol that has come out of Tennessee fans and SEC fans in general has begun to resonate in the greater L.A. area.  I mean, we are talking about Tennessee leased cars that were wrecked by coach Kiffin last year.  We have seen pictures of Kiffin at what appears to be a bar with younger women.  My question is, "Why now?" "You knew about it before?"

We also heard just today that a sewage dump has been named after the late great Tennessee coach.  Throw in the mountain of minor recruiting violations and ethical issues that many of you have written on my Bleacher Report blog posts and there is enough fun here to keep us dialoging for weeks.

The vast majority of USC fans want a clean program and have not been happy with the line of apparent violations or even blatant violations that have been percolating at Heritage Hall under the Carroll regime. 

SC fans want Kiffin to succeed, but the reality is 50 percent of SC's fans are hesitant about his hiring.  However, most of us are not scorched earth people so we just might be naive enough to believe that Mike Garrett looked into Kiffin's character and was convinced he could enhance the USC reputation and clean up the recruiting violations at the school. 

Now, I can hear the sarcasm as you attempt to shatter your humble correspondent's self image with a whole bunch of unprintable names about Kiffin and a clean program. 

My question to you is , "Why didn't Tennessee fans demand this guy be canned when this stuff surfaced?"  My guess is there is a tad bit of truth mixed with generous amounts of innuendo, gossip, and hyperbole, so you ignored it.

Besides, the guy was putting a great program back on the map, so let's put up with some of the garbage that comes with him.  Well, many of you have warned me, "If you sleep with the Devil, he will bite you," so SC fans are about to find out the real truth.

We've got big time reporters in L.A. just begging for a reason to have the bloggers actually read their work, so they are ready to pounce on it to nail Kiffin.  So far Kiffin is keeping very quiet and doing his job. Only time will tell.

Tennessee fans, your complaints are being heard, but one has to wonder what you were actually covering up last year and why it is coming to a head now. To the rest of the country, it looks like a big case of southern homerism, mixed in with a little negative energy. 

Consider this: Just a few days ago, a headline screamed Tennessee brings in "One of us!" as coach Dooley, who bailed on LA Tech hours earlier, was introduced. To your coorespondent that explains the negative energy behind Kiffin's exit.  He was never a Southerner and never was going to be a Southerner.   That is neither good or bad, I am just pointing out a fact.

Furthermore, I know that many of you have responded with unbelievable venom toward anyone who might have the courage to point out that there have been several recent coaching changes in the SEC that smack close to Kiffin. Why the anger?  Could it be true?

Additionally, many readers are angry that I suggested that USC is a better overall program than UT and any other programs in the SEC other than Alabama.  You have come out swinging on that one and I love it because that's a fact: USC is a better program and that is why Kiffin left.

However, that is only in context.  There is no question that Tennessee has a great tradition and proud heritage, so outcry is understandable.  It's just gone overboard!

I am not trashing your tradition, love for the game, or that you are great people.  The point is, facts are facts, and they speak for themselves.

Lets look at a few now...

Fact #1 - Tennessee fans dislike Kiffin because he is not "One of them" and he left them at a key recruiting time.  Memo:  Pete Carroll did that to USC and Dooley did it to LA. Tech.  It's business.

Fact#2 - Tennessee and SEC fans talk about morals and ethics while showing a blatant disregard for the facts in their own particular situation. For example, why wasn't Kiffin's car wreck a national story when it happened? That's a legitimate question and not an attack.

Why didn't LSU fans name a dump after Nick Saban (Particlularly after he went to Alabama)? Why is Kiffin's picture with those women being distributed nationally now and not when it happened?

Fact#3 - SEC & Tennessee fans really loathe USC and anything to do with California.  I have been called every name in the book because I dare to bring up hypocrisy and fact.  The PAC-10 is a one team conference;  SC plays a weak schedule. You name it, I've heard it. 

My response: How about 11 National Championships, 7 Heisman Trophy Winners, 34 bowl wins, 23 Rose Bowl Wins, and 40 players currently in the NFL.

The Trojans have won 109 total team national championships, 89 of which are NCAA National Championships. The Trojan men have won 87 national championships (74 NCAA titles), more than any other University. 

The point is that it could be argued that this job is a step up from Tennessee.  I happen to believe Kiffin when he says he would only leave Tennessee for USC.  Tennessee is a great program.  Period!

Many SEC Folks have pounded USC for flakey fans.  The truth is USC is big in L.A. because they have had eight years of sustained excellence.  Next to the Lakers they are the rock stars!

Oh yes, when they stink, L.A. has a million other entertainment opportunities.  So it is with a county that is bigger than four Southern states combined.

Fact#4 - USC fans are not ignoring these issues.  We just found about them in gossip magazines and articles this week.  Tennessee fans should have blown the whistle on the guy last year if it was true.

If the devil now resides in L.A., as you claim he does, then he will be nailed.  But, do USC fans deserve to get hosed too? No. Tennessee fans didn't deserve it, but could have done something about it, but neither do USC fans deserve an unethical monster.

Fact#5 - Ed Orgeron should have been fired from UT for any ethical issues that may have arisen under his leadership.  It's all coming out now and if it is true, bye, bye ED.  Tennessee fans, he worked for you first after he worked for USC in the early 2000's.  Face it, if he is the low life you claim he is, then Mike Garrett is gone as well, for a horrible hire. 

Stay tuned and we'll see how this drama plays out.  Meanwhile, UT fans, Kiffin is our problem or our asset. In the words of Jim Rome,  get over it and move on. You've got a great program and tradition.  Good days are ahead!

Tired of the BCS.  Demand a College Football Playoff now!



    Top 10 Winners from Vols Spring Practice

    Tennessee Volunteers Football logo
    Tennessee Volunteers Football

    Top 10 Winners from Vols Spring Practice

    All for Tennessee
    via All for Tennessee

    Pruitt Has to Earn This Nick Saban Impersonation

    Tennessee Volunteers Football logo
    Tennessee Volunteers Football

    Pruitt Has to Earn This Nick Saban Impersonation

    Joe Rexrode
    via The Tennessean

    Swinney Wouldn’t Mind Rekindling Rivalry with UGA

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Swinney Wouldn’t Mind Rekindling Rivalry with UGA

    via The Clemson Insider

    Guarantano Has Made Strides, but QB Battle Looms

    Tennessee Volunteers Football logo
    Tennessee Volunteers Football

    Guarantano Has Made Strides, but QB Battle Looms

    Saturday Down South
    via Saturday Down South