Thank you, Ole Miss ($$).
Lane Kiffin is gunning for Nick Saban.
It’s been nearly three years since Saban unceremoniously fired Kiffin, his offensive coordinator, two days after Alabama beat Washington in the 2016 College Football Playoff semifinal at the Peach Bowl. Saban fired Kiffin a week before the national championship game. Kiffin was embarrassed. Kiffin was angry. Kiffin hasn’t forgotten.
That dismissal fueled Kiffin’s desire to return to the SEC and a burning passion to exact revenge on Saban, multiple people with knowledge of the matter told The Athletic. Now that he’s the head coach at Ole Miss, he sees the chance to do so.
Damn, I’ve missed that side of Junior. (As a blogger, that is.) Welcome back, sport.
This ($$) is so, so good.
… The key piece to this puzzle is Kiffin. Everything that comes along with him is a bonus — or a side effect, whichever you want to call it.
He is a 44-year-old lightning rod in the sport with a track record that borders on the ridiculous, from breaking NCAA rules by sending recruiting hostesses to visit high school prospects while at Tennessee to deflating footballs while at USC to sending numerous tweets that cross the proverbial line. He has said he’s matured and learned from his experiences, with a nod to the value of coaching alongside Saban in particular, but he has never really muzzled himself. His personality and his candor are what make him polarizing, but they also make him must-see TV and a must-follow on Twitter — especially when his teams are good but most definitely when they aren’t. They are what keep him in the national spotlight, whether he’s in Boca Raton or Tuscaloosa.
Now the Lane Kiffin show, as unorthodox as it may be, comes to Oxford. The fans are already rushing to get in their deposits for tickets, with the start of a new season still 10 months away. The show that starts right now is the point.
Junior was hired for the attention he’ll bring. Coaching success is almost secondary. But I’ll bet you one thing right now: if he succeeds at Ole Miss, he’ll be the coach they hire in Tuscaloosa to succeed Saban. The Laner is probably the one dude in the country who wouldn’t be intimidated in the slightest about succeeding a legend. Hell, he’d be playing with house money at that point, anyway.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the first time he makes Greg Sankey uncomfortable.
This is beyond classic.
Again, all I can say is thanks, football gods. I already know I owe you one.
Tell me — is there anything more appropriate to Ole Miss introducing its new head coach to its devoted flock than this?
Given that it’s Junior, I can’t help but wonder if Ole Miss fans will be drinking heavily in a few years for an entirely different reason.
Honestly, I don’t know what I did to deserve something this good.
Talk about your match made in heaven: the fake dog peeing football program is hiring what amounts to a fake dog peeing coach. Junior’s yet to win anything bigger than a CUSA title in his head coaching career, but he’s guaranteed to draw attention wherever he goes. And Ole Miss is perfect for him — there’s a 99% chance he’ll never win the division, but on the odd chance he ever does, he’ll be out of Oxford like a shot. You’d think those people would learn something from the Tuberville experience, but this is all about trolling.
And on that level, it’s close to perfect. The Laner can bring his little brother back to Ole Miss just as he’s coming off that pesky two-year show cause order he’s under. The most all in thing Kiffin can do, though, would be to try to hire Art Briles. (Don’t shake your head; he hired Kendall at FAU.) Greg Sankey’s already got a mild case of heartburn this morning. Might as well see if you can give him something bigger, Junior.
In the meantime, it’s gonna be a fun offseason. Ole Miss, we who are about to snark salute thee.
Because, of course he has.
Okay, it’s taken a decade, but, as a by-product of the depth to which Tennessee’s football program has fallen, it was inevitable that Junior’s redemption story would take root.
I think we all know what the fairy tale ending would look like, no?