As sympathetic as I am for Tennessee fans who just watched their coach run for the border like he had ten pounds of Taco Bell headed for his back exit, the operative question here has to be:
Why in the blue flaming hell are you surprised?
Lane Kiffin's done little in his career but prove that he would light his mother on fire to get a "better job" (and then drag his father along right through the ashes).
Actually, scratch the last half of that sentence, and let's leave it at:
Lane Kiffin's done little in his career.
7-6 at Tennessee is nice and all, but did he beat Florida, like he said he would? No.
Did he beat Alabama? No. And since when do coaches get paid for moral victories?
USC is the closest thing to an NFL job that still has "university" in its name, and if one asks the right people, one could probably get it said that USC pays better. And they take care of their coaches, too.
So, what was the NFL record for Kiffin? 5-15? There's only so much that we can blame on Al Davis and his senility.
And speaking of Al, even as stuck in the '60s as he is, he's probably so incensed at this news, he's going to take his complaints straight to President Johnson. Methinks he might be waiting a while for a response.
Is taking USC a great career move for any coach? Probably. But, after Pete Carroll's nice run, you need to be highly convinced that you can deliver the mail, because USC is the only pro football in the second-largest market in America, and there are a lot of people watching.
Of course, we all know that the last thing Lane lacks is confidence. If Urban Meyer ends the "leave of absence" next week, some wit will be asking Kiffin if Meyer's back because he, Kiffin, left. And don't think for a second that Lane won't get a chuckle out of that.
The whole thing kind of brings to mind the story of Icarus. Kiffin only got his wings after getting in his slapfight with Al, and he keeps soaring higher without doing much looking around to see how close he is to the sun. In Los Angeles, though, it's all about the sun, and a lot of people are ready to see if Kiffin's wings are going to melt.
Just imagine the recruiting hostesses he can recruit at USC, though. Living in Tennessee, I can tell you there's the occasional hottie to be found here, but they don't quite grow on trees like they're alleged to in LA.
There's a school of thought that says that Kiffin, with his run-ins with the NCAA already well-documented, would not have taken the USC position if there were too many signals that the Compliance Mafia were about to whack the Trojans. This could be a valid point. After all, it's kind of hard for a coach to send his hatchet guy to steal UT's recruits if they're going to be hearing that they'll have no chance to play for a national title.
All that being said, if USC fans wanted their school to get off the NCAA's radar, they're probably nursing some nasty hangovers this morning. There's going to be an NCAA compliance officer pitching a tent right next to Mike Garrett's secretary's desk. Hopefully, the campfire doesn't set off the sprinklers.
The whole moral of the story, kids, is this: Lane Kiffin has a job with a lot of money, a ridiculously hot wife, beautiful kids, and he's becoming one of the most famous men in sports. You, too, can be a success in life by screwing players, giving the finger to a big and loyal fanbase, and generally being a complete douchebag. Take notes.