10 Reasons Why A Bama Fan Hates Lane Kiffin
In the wake of my piece on why someone might be inclined to hate Urban Meyer, I was asked to choose another hated coach in college football and put together a similar piece. The list ended up being one name long.
As it has not been made explicitly clear here, allow me to preface this article by stating that, in addition to being a college football and SEC fan in general, I am a rabid and ridiculous Alabama fan. I have hardly missed a home game on campus dating back to the dark despair of the Shula years and am taking a year off from tailgating due to being 35 and “tired of night games.” It is to the degree that one of my colleagues here at FootballRumorMill (coincidentally an Auburn fan) stated that one of the stipulations in accepting these writing assignments is that I don’t become a mouth-breathing Bama homer (or an Auburn hater) in my writing style. I am that guy.
January 10, 2014 was a dark day in my Tide fandom, because it was announced that Lane Kiffin, that mouthy guy from those other programs at USC and Tennessee, would be calling the plays for my beloved Tide. While I may have written the last piece mostly objectively, this one stings a little. So rather than presenting ten reasons to hate Lane Kiffin, I’m going to present ten reasons why I hate Lane Kiffin. This piece is, by no means, news. But with the season opener a little over a week away, it’s looming for me, personally.
10. Because my name is Lane. I accept that this reason is flimsy and shallow. For some number of years, I have been asked if I was named after Lane Frost, the professional bull rider. This has always been a little ironic because I was born while he was still in high school, before his bull riding career had even really begun. I was almost 10 when he had his fatal accident and was in high school myself when 8 Seconds was released. As a result, I have to eye this suspiciously because I live in a state where families name their daughters Krimson Anne White and their dogs Bama and Bear. It seems inevitable that one day someone is going to ask me if I’m named after the one time Bama OC who is only 4 years my senior.
9. Because USC. Much like it is fashionable in the rest of the college football world to hate Alabama and the Alabama fan base, we have been hating on USC for years. Refer to the Urban Meyer read regarding how this conditioning process works. Rinse. Repeat. Pac 10 in the mid 2000s, dynasty talk, weak conference opponents. Enough already.
8. Because Tennessee. Although this year’s incoming freshmen at the University of Tennessee haven’t seen their Volunteers beat Alabama on the gridiron outside of a video game console since they were in the 5th grade, the long running hatred for our historical rival runs deep. It doesn’t matter that the teams he coached while at Tennessee didn’t beat us. It doesn’t matter that he left. It only matters that he was ever there. We hate Tennessee. End of story. Seriously, the only thing we liked about him at the University of Tennessee was the mattress burning riot when he resigned.
7. Because USC. Yes, I’m being repetitive. If we hated him under Pete Carroll and let that hatred simmer at Tennessee, this is where we distilled Hate Moonshine. By this point in time, USC was under sanctions that dated back to infractions committed to his previous coaching tenure there. Also, thank God for Stanford.
6. Because he lives under the shadow cast by his father. It’s all too easy to assume that Tennessee hired Kiffin so that they could have Monte Kiffin coaching his defense and, hopefully, mentoring their head coach. When your dad is considered to be one of the best defensive coaches in the game, it has a way of opening doors for you. Would he have ever been named both the youngest NCAA and NFL head coaches without the name recognition?
5. Because he’s a distraction. Kiffin manages to constantly find himself under a microscope for something he has said or done that has ruffled someone else’s feathers. College football fans are, for the most part, trying to watch a game of kids passionately playing a game they still love.
4. Because just when you think you’ve heard everything. He throws another coach under the bus to the media.
I’m going to turn Florida in right here in front of you. As Nu’Keese (Richardson) was here on campus, his phone keeps ringing. And so one of our coaches is sitting in the meeting with him and says, “Who is that?” And he looks at the phone and says, “Urban Meyer.” Just so you know, you can’t call a recruit on another campus. But I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn’t get him.”
This ultimately served to get Kiffin in hot (OK, perhaps tepid is a better word) water with SEC commissioner Mike Slive because he’d incidentally broken a conference rule preventing coaches from publicly mentioning recruits by name.
2. Because attitudes are contagious. He’s a charismatic coach who has a way of coaching up young, offensive talent. But in the course of terminating Kiffin’s employment with the Raiders, Al Davis called Kiffin a “flat-out liar” and said he brought “disgrace to the organization.” The nuances of contract law governing NFL head coaches is plenty complex, but, in arbitration, it was determined that the Raiders were within their rights to fire Kiffin for cause.
1. Because, dear God, no. Because one day Nick Saban is likely to retire from coaching. And we have a stellar Defensive Coordinator in Kirby Smart. But with an explosive Offensive Coordinator with the right pedigree, NCAA and NFL head coaching experience who is also, now, a Saban disciple, whose resume stands on its own?
In all seriousness, I have to trust that Coach Saban knows what he’s doing and that, if it doesn’t work out, it will work itself out. But, really?! Lane Kiffin?!