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Kiffin To USC? I Don’t Think So

With Pete Carroll apparently on the verge of taking the Seattle Seahawks’ head coaching job, many Tennessee fans are already filling up their blogs and Bleacher Report with worries that USC might come calling on Lane Kiffin.

Maybe.  Possibly.  ESPN’s Chris Mortensen mentioned it as a possibility.

But I wouldn’t count on it.

If Carroll is jetting USC, it’s fair to wonder if he feels the NCAA noose is about to tighten on his program.  The Reggie Bush affair has swirled for more than a year now and it was recently ruled that Carroll could actually be deposed in that case.

Also, the Trojan basketball program was spanked harshly this week for illegal activities under Tim Floyd’s watch.

So if you’re Southern Cal athletic director Mike Garrett and you know the NCAA is eyeing your athletic department pretty closely, would you go after a coach who made more national headlines with his comments, his secondary violations and a hostess-fueled NCAA investigation than he did with his win/loss record?

Probably not.

You never say never, of course, but it’s hard to imagine a coach with Kiffin’s career record — regardless of his staff, his recruiting successes and his possible upside — being the top choice for USC.

And with the NCAA hanging around, who knows if Kiffin or anyone else would want to jump to the Coliseum lickety-split?

Don’t forget, Southern Cal fans weren’t happy with a 9-win season this past year.  The last coach was a legend (if indeed Carroll departs for the NFL).  And the AD doesn’t have a history of getting along with his coaches.

When those facts are thrown into the mix along with the NCAA threat, USC might not look too good to Tennessee’s coach or anyone else.

If, however, Garrett does make a run at Kiffin — again, I’m not buying it — the coach would have to pay UT a $1 million buyout for the right to leave.

Oregon State’s Mike Riley and Washington’s Steve Sarkisian appear to be the Trojans’ top candidates at this point.


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