Not since Forrest Gump has there been a figure who has found himself in more important positions despite having little or no aptitude for anything (other than being related to a defensive genius).
I didn't mind USC during the Carroll era. It was refreshing to watch a Pac Ten team play proper defense. It was certainly enjoyable to watch the Trojans humiliate Notre Dame on an annual basis. Now, that match-up has become a meteor game. USC - the program with its basketball program on probation for paying a player, the Reggie Bush investigation hanging over it like the Sword of Damocles, and fresh allegations that another star running back was being paid by, oh, I forgot, U.S./China Marketing - just hired a head coach who made NCAA infractions a part of his recruiting strategy in Knoxville. Did Michigan replace Steve Fisher with Jerry Tarkanian? Did Alabama replace Mike Dubose with Jackie Sherrill? Come on, NCAA, if ever a program was thumbing its nose at you, this is it. I don't root for the NCAA to hammer major programs because college football is more interesting when the major power are doing well, but I'm willing to make an exception in this instance. USC just moved to "utterly contemptible." And that's before we get to Ed Orgeron's apparent Jerry Maguire impersonation, desperately calling Tennessee recruits to discourage them from enrolling at Tennessee.
In terms of Tennessee's reaction, this is not the end of the world. Yes, the Vols are being dumped by their girlfriend, but it's not as if this lady was a keeper. If you buy the notion that a coach who commits a bevy of smaller violations is more likely to commit a big one, then Tennessee is dodging a bullet. And that's before we get to the fact that Lane Kiffin is not very good at coaching football. He's good at assembling a staff and he's an aggressive recruiter, but he was never going to be on anyone's list for the top ten coaches in the country. Isn't that what ultimately drove Tennessee fans crazy about Phil Fulmer? Assuming that he isn't tainted goods because of ElectricalShedGate, wouldn't Mike Leach be a major upgrade? After all those years of Big Orange fans suffering as Spurrier-coached Florida teams passed John Chavis's defenses to death, wouldn't a little reversal of fortune be sweet? How about an SEC with Meyer, Saban, Petrino, Miles, Richt, Nutt, Malzahn (the real brains behind the operation on the Plains), the Artist Formerly Known as Spurrier, and Leach? I was originally thinking this morning that Tommy Tuberville has to be kicking himself because he would have been a perfect fit in Knoxville, but now, I'm fixated on the coach whom Tommy is replacing.
Speaking of the coaching musical chairs this offseason and in an effort to expand from neverending World War Two analogies, does this offseason remind anyone else of Paris 1919? Old empires breaking apart, opening opportunities for smaller countries that are finally getting out from under the boot? No? Oh come on, just play along. The Pac Ten hegemon has lost its coach, replaced him with a buffoon, and has the NCAA knocking at its door, looking for reparations. The SEC hegemon lost its coach, then the coach came back, only we're not sure if the coach is going to be on the sidelines next fall. The teams that are third in the pecking orders of the Big XII and Big East had to fire their coaches for being abusive to their players. Georgia is thrashing about wildly in search for a defensive coordinator. Tennessee is now without a coach and its students are taking to the streets. For the first time in decades, Florida State (the Ottoman Empire of the aughts) has a new coach. Upheaval doesn't even begin to describe what's happening right now. G-d, I love college football.