If we’re truly going to be objective and honest, then we have to write off a head coach’s first year like any tax deductible. Here are some recent names that come to mind:
Nick Saban, Les Miles, Pete Carroll, Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel, Gene Chizik, Bob Stoops and Mack Brown.
What they have in common is none of the nation’s elite names in Division One Collegiate Football won the coveted National Championship in their first year.
Nor were all of their second years enough to bring home the Coach’s Trophy. However, some were crowned champs, and their names are Jim Tressel, Gene Chizik, Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer.
For the rest, the third year was often the charm ala Pete Carroll, Les Miles and Nick Saban. This about covers the legacies of coaches in the 2000s, where winning and winning now was and still is the motto.
But more importantly than winning it all is the fact that each and every coach skyrocketed their second year, and they did so in considerable fashion.
Mathematically, all of the aforementioned coaches increased their winning percentage by an average of 40 percent. Mack Brown and Les Miles did not improve. Then again they did not need to. They started and stayed great. Les’ 11 wins each of his first two years and Mack’s nine, both invited to prominent New Year’s Day bowls to boot, speak for themselves and leave marginal room for improvement.
In all, these lionized men in the realms of college football greatness brought their teams to national prominence almost immediately.
As for Kiffin, he is in a position where the gap from mediocrity to enormity is vast. At eight wins and a 62 percent winning rate in 2010, he is getting a D. For some universities, a D is accepted on the transcript.
Not for Heritage Hall and the University of Southern California. Nothing short of a Pac-12 championship and a top five finish will suffice. Lane is standing in the shadows of this millenium’s giants of men. Will he be able to stand by their side?
Here are five reasons why he needs to.