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Entries in Lane Kiffin (5)


PAC 10 Preview: Oregon Wins Wild Race

Picture Of Chip Kelly

One Great Season

Of all the tight races expected in college football this year, and there will be many, the PAC 10 looks to be the most wide open.

Depending on injuries, luck and a bounce or two here or there, any one of seven teams could conceivably win the conference in 2010. Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Arizona, California, Stanford and even a depleted USC team will contend for the league's BCS bowl bid.

Four of these teams will be led by star quarterbacks. Washington's Jake Locker has been touted as a potential No. 1 NFL draft pick for two years now. Stanford's Andrew Luck, only a sophomore, is a legitimate Heisman candidate and many think he'll continue to flourish under popular coach Jim Harbaugh despite the loss of Toby Gerhart.

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No. 13: USC Trojans

Matt Barkley

The One Great Season College Football Countdown continues Wednesday. We'll be counting down the preseason Top 25 teams in 2010. Today's No. 13 is USC.

One Great Season

In a hectic college football offseason packed with coaching changes, recruiting investigations and suspensions, USC's was perhaps the most dramatic.

A two-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions, among other penalties, have left the Trojans vowing to achieve one simple goal in 2010: to win all 13 of their games.

And while a perfect regular season is unlikely, USC remains one of the few programs that can intimidate with just its name, colors and presence.

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Tennessee Fans Will Watch For Kiffin Comeuppance

Lane Kiffin

Special To One Great Season

KNOXVILLE -- As the Lane Kiffin news leaked out on the ESPN wire around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Tennessee campus quickly escalated into riot mode, and campus police, many of whom are Vols fans, had seemingly no intention of stopping it.

About 1,000 students gathered outside the football complex, burning one of Kiffin's promotional "It’s Time" T-shirts in the street, setting a mattress ablaze and blocking the exit of the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex. Kiffin eventually needed a police escort out of the complex, leaving his luxury car parked in the staff lot outside the building.

During the impromptu circus, a group of UT players lashed out against their former coach, proclaiming the familiar refrain, "It’s great ... to be ... a Tennessee Vol," as well as, "We are Tennessee. We don't need Lane Kiffin."

The players were understandably angry, in shock and looking for answers. Most of all they were defiant. Tennessee is a proud program, one steeped in tradition, and they scoffed at the notion that Kiffin was the key to its revival. Defensive end Ben Martin started chants of "Bring back Phil (expletive)," in reference to former coach Phillip Fulmer, who Wednesday was contacted by the school about a potential return to the sideline.
The biggest shock, though, came from USC's end. Many wondered why a program that just experienced one of the greatest decades in college football would hire a man with a combined 12-20 record over the last three years with Tennessee and the NFL's Oakland Raiders. The interest on Kiffin's end was understandable. After all, he's a west-coast guy with a west-coast wife, but why, they wondered, would USC go that direction when many more proven candidates are out there?

In the end, the answer is likely the same as when UT hired him: bloodlines. By hiring Kiffin, USC also gets his dad, defensive guru Monte Kiffin, as well as recruiting ace Ed Orgeron. And it's expected that Norm Chow -- the architect of many of Pete Carroll's great USC offenses -- will return as offensive coordinator.

That's the type of package deal that will get an under-qualified coach a job.

In the end, Tennessee fans see Kiffin as a liar and a one-man wrecking-ball. With NCAA sanctions looming at USC, the orange-sweatered loyals await the last laugh, ready to watch from afar as Kiffin meets his comeuppance. At the very least, they can enjoy the mark they've left on the Kiffin family. As Kiffin slithers his way toward the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, he's doing so with a 1-year-old son named Knox.

Merritt is the sports editor for the University of Tennessee's student newspaper, the Daily Beacon.


USC Will Stay In Fast Lane With Kiffin Hire

Lane Kiffin

One Great Season

I love that USC hired Lane Kiffin away from Tennessee. I liked the Vols when I was younger, but I saw USC three times on the OGS tour last fall and couldn't help but fall for that team. The Trojans definitely have a presence about them that you don't only notice, but you fear it, too.

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Remember when Frank Abagnale told Frank Abagnale Jr. that "the other teams can't stop staring at those damn pinstripes" when explaining why the Yankees were so successful? No team more than USC has that air in college football.

VIDEO: Kiffin's Painfully Brief Farewell Press Conference

And we all thought that would disappear with the departure of Pete Carroll. But I think with Kiffin bringing his dad, Monty Kiffin, along as defensive coordinator, Norm Chow as offensive coordinator and the popular Ed Orgeron, I think the Trojans will continue the school's proud football tradition. I know USC has some NCAA penalties likely coming up, but the team is in good hands for a while.

And for those left with your jaws on the ground in Knoxville, I don't blame you for wanting to lash out. Be disappointed -- pissed, maybe -- but you can't blame a man for leaving one job for another. Certainly some transitions are handled poorly (paging Brian Kelly), but once the shock wears off, the bottom line is that the USC opportunity is a better one.


+ ANALYSIS: What Will Happen To Poor Matt Barkley?
+ REVIEW: Carroll Leaves USC; Who's Saying What?
+ LOOKING AHEAD: Alabama Consensus Preseason No. 1
+ POLL: Final OGS Top 25

Of course, college football fans were all over the story on Twitter Tuesday night. Here's a sampling: 

+ @ACCSports: "Soo, if you're Southern Cal and both your main programs are in trouble with the NCAA, your next big hire is ... Lane Kiffin?"

+ @Ballew_esq: "So Lane Kiffin is trying to win as many friends as possible. Be careful about burning bridges. You may need one someday."

+ @DJLitten: "Which is bigger news in L.A.: Kiffin to USC or Conan's impersonation of Gen. George Custer?"

+ @danshanoff: "Forget Lane Kiffin. Bringing back Norm Chow is best hire USC could make. Btwn him and Monte, best OC/DC combo in CFB."

+ @VeryFakeAlDavis: "THAT'S WHAT YOU THINK. RT @LATimesfarmer: Well, that checks Lane Kiffin off the Raiders' list."

+ @LAMase: "Just talked w/Matt Barkley RE Kiffin: 'I like that he knows how to live & breathe the Trojan way. Can't wait to start working with him.'"

+ @TomahawkNation: "WR Kyle Prater texted and said he loves the USC hire of Kiffin and that he will be enrolling at USC on Monday."

+ @slmandel: "I can't believe Tennessee let Kiffin hold a farewell press conference. Even he kept mentioning the '14 months' fact."

+ @GatorBenPBP: "Urban Meyer literally sprinted out of the gym at halftime to avoid reporters."

+ @USCSportsNews: "Did USC just replace Pete Carroll with the best coaching staff in college football?"


What's Wrong With Lane Kiffin Being Confident?

One Great Season

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- I don't understand why there's such a fuss about Lane Kiffin's most memorable quote from his introductory press conference when he became Tennessee's head football coach.

YOUR THOUGHTS: Were Kiffin's comments disrespectful?

Said Kiffin: "I'm really looking forward to embracing some of the great traditions at the University of Tennessee, for instance the Vol Walk, running through the T, singing Rocky Top all night long after we beat Florida next year. It's going to be a blast, OK? So get ready."

I don't think it was much different from when Jim Tressel took over as Ohio State coach, ending more than a decade of Michigan dominance in the best rivalry in all of sports. Tressel was introduced to Buckeye Nation during a break in the Ohio State-Michigan basketball game in Columbus in January 2001.

Tressel took the mike and proclaimed: "I can assure you that you will be proud of your young people in the classroom, in the community, and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Michigan."

I think Tressel's comment was fairly ballsy, again because the Wolverines owned OSU for a decade, and because it is, again, the biggest rivalry in all of sports. And yet the statement didn't get hardly the amount of criticism that Kiffin and his proclamation have been getting this year.

Comments or gestures like that are intended to pump up your fan base and really nothing more. If the other side wants to turn it into bulletin-board material, then sobeit. Tressel has succeeded in walking the walk. We'll find out Saturday of Kiffin and his Volunteers can back it up at the Swamp when Tennessee takes on No. 1 Florida.

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