Kiffin saga proves Season of the Weird continues

Published: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 5:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 5:18 p.m.

It's easy to bash a high school football player when he commits and re-commits and silently commits and soft commits and then surprises everybody on National Signing Day by pulling a hat out of a bag as if it were a rabbit.

It's easy to laugh at a recruit who says one day he's 65 percent committed and the next day 72.9 percent committed. It's easy to grab a dictionary and flip it open to the C-section and ask them to look up the word commitment. It's easy to make fun of the whole process from recruitniks to Web sites to three-star sleepers.

But this is where I think everybody needs to lay off these young men trying to make a decision that will last the next four years (or at least until they take their ball and transfer because they are not starting.)

For a moment, pretend you are a high-level high school player being wooed by the best football programs.

You reportedly run a sub-4.3 in the 40 which means it's more like 4.41. But you're fast. You're a trip to the buffet line away from being the perfect weight for your position. You've never lost a game in high school. Your grades are good enough to score the SAT minimum. You've never been arrested.

You are the man.

And you've narrowed your list of schools down to three — Florida, Southern Cal and Tennessee. It is the day after Christmas.

And you are leaning to Florida.

And then the story explodes — Urban Meyer resigns.

Oh, man, I'm going to Southern Cal.

And then the story hits — Pete Carroll leaves for the NFL.

Oh man, I'm going to Tennessee.

And then the story hits — Lane Kiffin leaves for USC.

But Meyer is coming back to Florida.

I know, your head is spinning and you're just pretending to be this recruit.

The Season of the Weird didn't get the memo that the season was over. It keeps hurtling at us at warp speed with a sick sense of humor.

Make it stop, please.

The latest stunning news about Kiffin was so startling it caused riots in Knoxville and keg parties at SEC headquarters in Birmingham. That noise you heard last night was a big sigh of relief coming from Mike Slive's diaphragm. The conference may have become less interesting but a lot more intelligent.

Tennessee fans are outraged, of course, because they spent 14 months defending Kiffin and it turned out they were wrong and Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis was right. So they burned mattresses and slept on the floor Tuesday night. That'll show him.

One question — did Kiffin leave cab fare on the nightstand when he left UT athletic director Mike Hamilton's room? Talk about getting used.

It does make sense for Southern Cal to hire Kiffin. I noted in my Tuesday column I thought it could happen. One reason I left out was that USC was sending an olive branch to the NCAA with the hiring.

Hey, guys, we know we've kept you busy and we want to help. So instead of sending investigators to both Los Angeles and Knoxville we've arranged it so you only have to come to California.

Classy to the end, Ed Orgeron — now in his fourth job in four years — was reportedly calling Tennessee early enrollees to tell them not to go to class so they could transfer to USC.

You get what you pay for, Vols.

Look, we could spot these losers a mile away. I understand how fans can be blinded by rhetoric and enthusiasm, but didn't you see this coming? That eventually it would all blow up and Hamilton would have Big Orange paint all over his face?

I wrote a few months into the Kiffin Error that he would either be very successful or a colossal failure. Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.

And, this just in, UT boosters are talking to Phillip Fulmer about returning as head coach.

That, people, will do it. If Fulmer comes back as Tennessee's football coach, I am declaring the Season of the Weird over.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at and follow at

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