He still doesn't get it
Your humble correspondent would really rather do anything else than write more about Boy Wonder. Okay, that's not really true. To some extent, Lane Kiffin is the gift that keeps on giving. But the whole "it's not my fault" line is getting old. And Boy Wonder was reached by the News Sentinel -- or did he call them? -- which only caused him to strike up the violin music again.
The always confident 34-year-old coach may have left UT jilted when the Trojans came calling, but admitted he had some regrets about his departure that led to orange-clad fans burning mattresses and Kiffin T-shirts just outside UT's athletic complex.
"I was put in a tough situation timingwise, which was no one's fault," said Kiffin, who was in Florida at an SEC meeting when USC called him about replacing Pete Carroll. "I couldn't get to my team right away. The news breaks somehow. I wish that could have been different, but I couldn't control that."
No, Lane, but you know what you could have controlled? Whether you took the job. In the end, the situation was your fault, regardless of what other circumstances might have contributed to it. If you wanted to take the job badly enough, then you have to take the consequences that follow that, which includes the fact that people in Knoxville aren't going to like you very much. But don't try to blame the situation on the atmospherics when those wouldn't have mattered at all had you remained with Tennessee.
Eventually Kiffin and his immediate family did take off -- without David Reaves. Reaves, who was quarterbacks coach and the brother of Kiffin's wife, Layla, told the News Sentinel that he heard of the hiring on television, not from his family.
Moreover, Kiffin did not hire Reaves for a position at USC. He instead hired former Memphis offensive coordinator Clay Helton to handle quarterbacks.
"When you take a job, so many things go into your staff structure and makeup of it (such as) the direction sometimes that an athletic director or president wants you to go as well," Kiffin said. "There are a lot of things that went into that decision that were not based solely on business at all."
Amazing. Less than two months into the job, and he's already throwing the athletics director and president under the bus. (Either that, or misleading everyone about why he decided not to hire his brother-in-law. I think I'm going with the most charitable description here.) Again, not Boy Wonder's fault that he didn't call his brother-in-law before the news broke or that he left said brother-in-law in employment limbo.
There's more -- isn't there always when we're talking about Lane Kiffin? -- but it's all part of the same broad theme. Despite his shots at Florida and Alabama and other schools over the years, Kiffin is a man who desperately wants to be liked. And when his own decisions make that impossible, he looks around like a child to try to find someone else to blame so that people will like him again.
Actually, I am getting a little bit tired of writing about this. It's really kind of sad.
Back in Knoxville, the whole staff earns less than Monte did
Tennessee has publicly announced how much it's pay Derek Dooley and Co., and it's middling for Knoxville, which spent all its money building and stocking a crawdad pond for Ed Orgeron and supplying Lane Kiffin's personalized Tropical Icee machine. (Do you know how difficult it is to unload a crawdad pond in this market?)
In any case, Dooley makes $1.8 million a year, DC Justin Wilcox gets $600,000 and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney's salary is $425,000. The total salary for the new coaches is $4.75 million.
Colonel Reb will be replaced
Even though the vote technically wasn't about him, that's how it was eventually viewed by almost everyone.
"This wasn't about Colonel Reb at all. This is a new body of students. This vote is about deciding that we need a new personification of what a Rebel is," said John Kaiser, the Associated Student Body's deputy attorney general of elections.
Students were asked to vote "yes" or "no" on whether they support "a student-led effort to develop and propose a new 'on-field' mascot to represent the Ole Miss Rebels." A "no" vote meant the school would have remained without a mascot.
The school has more than 18,000 students, but only 3,366 votes were cast. The referendum passed with nearly 75 percent of the vote.
Actually, experience would lead me to believe this is an incredibly high turnout for a student government election.
In any case, I realize despite the groundswell that Admiral Ackbar is an unlikely choice to actually become the "new" rebel. So I offer a few more choices from history: William the Silent, Stig Andersen Hvide, Ivan Andreyevich Khovansky, Alluri Sita Rama Raju and Tudur ap Gruffudd.
Because really, who doesn't want to hear Verne Lundquist attempt to say "There's the Ole Miss mast, Alluri Sita Rama Raju"?
Games today: Georgia plays Presbyterian in its home opener at 5 p.m. ET; LSU hosts McNeese State at 5 p.m. ET; Florida and UCF meet in Gainesville at 6:30 p.m. ET; Kentucky's game today against Murray State was moved to March 15.
Serious: Rajaan Bennett made the 911 call
Still heartbreaking a week later.
If this is all the NCAA could find after having a newspaper article for a road map, it leads to the conclusion that either (a) the Detroit Free-Press blew this way out of proportion or (b) the Association is even more incompetent than I thought. Since I'm not sure (b) is possible, we'll go with (a).