Now that Lane Kiffin is leaving Tennessee after one season filled with some decent football and a lot of tongue, I must admit I am going to miss the guy. Oh, sure, I will get to see him on TV more than ever, but unlike if Kiffin had stayed at Tennessee another few years, it won't be the same.
Granted, he will be all over the telly because, regardless of the righteous indignation you currently hear from some commentators, Lane is tailor-made for the Hollywood treatment his predecessor, Pete Carroll, always received. Kiffin is young and hot and can talk s*#@. It doesn't matter whether he has any coaching ability. He is a looker and can yap, and that is all that matters in the world of big time television these days. Just look at how Carroll was treated even after revelations that Reggie Bush may have been making more money in college than he does with the Saints. The media couldn't wait to be seen next to him, the pathetic hot dog eaters desperate to hang with the cool guy.
If you are offended by the fact that Kiffin does talk a bunch, tough, because that is a badge of honor in 2010. Kiffin wears that badge in the form of a rap song, "Banned From TV" from Lil Wayne, which includes the line "smoke weed, talk s--- like Lane Kiffin." Kiffin will be the "in" thing, at least for now. If his team starts winning, look out, because he might actually become an appendage of ESPN (ESPNK, anyone?) Shoot, it already happened a little last year. Remember CBS's sideline reporter interviewing Kiffin first, rather than Urban Meyer, after the Vols lost to Florida?
So why am I kind of sad to see Kiffin leave the SEC? If nothing else, he injected some badly needed color into the league, even if he had to stick his foot in his mouth to do so. He clearly got under the skin of Meyer. Granted, that was pretty much the main reason he was hired by the Vols, who had just thrown the coach that got them a national title under the bus. Kiffin's act, unfortunately, has already been done in the SEC (see Spurrier, Steve). Now, Kiffin can go hang out at the beach and probably win a few more games playing in the weakling Pac-10 as opposed to the conference that has the last four BCS titles.