SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lane Kiffin: Perhaps It Was Too Hard in the SEC and Perhaps His Initial Mistakes Were Too Great

Here's an article on Kiffin's arrival at USC.

I find the move perplexing, because didn't Kiffin say the same thing at Tennessee -- that he was going to put together a dream team of coaches and recruit all over the place? He did just that, but a) his rally girls showed up in the wrong places, b) some recruits found a creative way to add to their monthly stipends for laundry and expenses, c) he said some bold things and d) he made an accusation he couldn't back up. Oh, and he found himself competing against Nick Saban, Urban Meyer and Les Miles. That's tough going.

At USC, he won't have any of those coaches to compete against. No school has the tradition that USC does, and all opponents have their ups and downs -- none is or expects to be a perennial power. You don't have Washington State in the SEC. Oh, sure, the Oregon schools are tough, Washington is on the rise and Jim Harbaugh is a great coach at Stanford, but those schools don't play like Alabama, Florida or LSU. So, in a way, it's a smart move for Kiffin -- get to an easier conference, a school with a great tradition, a school you're familiar with, and learn from the many mistakes you made at Tennessee (which may end up with sanctions because of some of the activities under the Kiffin administration).

I'm not crying too much for the Vols, because there's a rough culture in college football that makes the business side of it ugly, and the SEC and schools like Tennessee contribute to that. By the same token, young kids listened to the promises of Kiffin and his elite coaching staff, only to have the head coach bolt after a year. Those kids should have the freedom to move to another school without penalty. What the heck-- if their coaches can bolt without pretext, they should be able to do the same.

Lane Kiffin does not look good here, but it's hard to say that he's any different from many other major college football coaches.

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