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Tennessee Volunteers' Lane Kiffin: Beware the SEC's Unknown

tre wellsCorrespondent IAugust 11, 2009

Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin at the  NFL  - 2007 Annual Meetings - AFC Coach Breakfast at Arizona Biltmore, on March 27, 2007.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

It’s a philosophy as old as the tradition of breaking up with your girlfriend.  You can find a new one that does something better than the last girlfriend did, but eventually and undoubtedly you will find that she will also not do something as good as the old girlfriend did.

I remember growing up in the '80s a fan of the Tennessee Volunteers, led by then coach Johnny Majors.  The kid that lived behind me was one of my best friends, but he had one huge character flaw.  He and his entire family were fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

I usually stayed away from him during football season.

For all the wins Majors piled up (116), he simply couldn’t beat Alabama.  They had his number, and it made me sick.  A 7-4 bowl record in his 15+ seasons simply couldn’t take away the sting.

It didn’t matter if we had better talent, more momentum, or were playing at home, Alabama beat us, and it usually wasn’t close.  Majors finished his career with a 4-12 record versus the Tide.

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Eventually, the boosters, fans, and administration pushed Majors out of Tennessee in lieu of one of his assistant coaches, Phillip Fulmer.

Fulmer, a good ole boy, who also played for Tennessee like his predecessor, hated Alabama and must have spent his nights dreaming of how he would beat them if he had the chance.

Fulmer made it a priority to beat the Tide from day one.  And beat them he did. 

Even in the later years, with the Nick Saban Era tarnishing a once dominant record, Fulmer still finished his career with 11 wins in 16 games.  You could always see the gleam in his eye on the third Saturday in October.

But while Fulmer was able to beat the team that owned his old ball coach, he was being manhandled by the Florida Gators and "the ole ball coach."

While I rejoiced in the fact that Tennessee was no longer the whoopin' post for Alabama, we had taken our eye off another school that would soon become a modern day rival.

Steve Spurrier had so much fun holding the upper hand in his rivalry with Fulmer and the Vols that he once quipped “you can’t spell Citrus without U.T.”  This was an obvious jab at the Vols, as the Citrus Bowl was slated to pick the second team in the SEC.

So Majors couldn’t beat 'Bama. Fulmer beat 'Bama, but couldn’t beat Florida. 

Lane Kiffin called out Florida and Urban Myer on day one. It's apparent who is at the top of his list. In his defense , they are the National Champions, they should be at the top of anyone's list.

But even if Kiffin can start beating Florida, he shouldn't take his eye off potential rivals laying in wait.

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