GAINESVILLE -- Here's what freshly retired Kentucky coach Rich Brooks wrote via Twitter on Tuesday night when he learned Lane Kiffin leveled Rocky Top: "How crazy is this profession! I have seen it all now!"
Rich, my man, you got out at the right time. College football, at this special moment of its existence, needs three things: 1) straight jacket; 2) padded cell; 3) Thorazine drip. Lane Kiffin to Southern Cal? Are you kidding me? Lane Kiffin is college football's Josh Baskin. You know Josh Baskin. He's the dork who dropped his quarter into Zoltar's mouth and got his wish to be "big."
So, Baskin is now coaching USC. That's just great. What's next? Blagojevich to the White House?
On Tuesday night, Florida coach Urban Meyer seemed just as shocked as the common football fan about the breaking news of Kiffin's exit from Tennessee. Meyer and wife Shelley stood courtside during the first half of the Gators' basketball game against Kentucky on Tuesday night. No.2 Kentucky defeated Florida 89-77. At one point, Meyer sent a pair of hand signals -- 'U' and 'T' -- along with a big smile across the court to athletics director Jeremy Foley, who was seated on press row.
Should Meyer be smiling about this news? Well, yeah. Meyer likes Kiffin just about as much as Tupac liked Biggie or Space Ghost liked Spider Woman, so Meyer probably isn't too sad to see Kiffin out of the SEC. Immediately, Meyer might be able to lure a recruit or two away from Tennessee. See: linebacker Michael Taylor of Atlanta, Ga. Long term, however, Kiffin's departure from Tennessee could affect the Gators negatively. How so? Well, it's just my opinion, but Meyer was never going to be out-coached or out-recruited by Kiffin while he was at Tennessee. It will be interesting to see who Tennessee hires. Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is apparently Tennessee's No.1 target. Is Muschamp ready to be a head coach? Was Kiffin? If I'm a Tennessee supporter, trading Kiffin for Muschamp seems like an upgrade.
There's also another dynamic to this story to consider. How will Kiffin's move to Southern Cal affect the Gators' 2010 recruiting class? Kiffin is putting together a talented coaching staff at USC. Monte Kiffin will be the defensive coordinator. Ed Orgeron will be the recruiting coordinator. Norm Chow will be the offensive coordinator. That's an all-star cast. Expect Orgeron and Kiffin to go hard after Florida recruit Ronald Powell, the defensive end who orally committed to Florida during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. And if you didn't think college football recruiting was a slimy business already, check out this story. LINK!
Powell is from Southern California and might reconsider sticking around. Personally, I doubt Powell de-commits from Florida. He has stated publicly that he wants to get out of the Los Angeles area and likes the college-town vibe of Gainesville. Plus, he loves Meyer.
While Powell will be a long shot for Kiffin's staff, one upper-crust recruit has apparently already signed on with Kiffin. Receiver Kyle Prater was reportedly considering Florida after Pete Carroll left for the NFL, but not anymore. He's enrolling early at USC to play for Josh Baskin.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
A large crowd of shocked Tennessee students gathered outside the Vols' football offices on Tuesday night to express their displeasure with Kiffin's sudden move to Southern Cal. UT defensive end Ben Martin was among the students and yelled a suggestion to a Knoxville News Sentinel reporter.
"Call Phil," said Martin, referring to former UT coach Phillip Fulmer. "Get him his [expletive] job back."
That, of course, would Rocky Top all.