Here at MrSEC.com, we like the permanent cross-division rivalries the league currently schedules in football. Many have suggested it’s time to drop those traditional affairs because, mainly, Tennessee has fallen on hard times and their cross-divisional foe, Alabama, has benefited. No one seems to care that Tennessee was the team enjoying a winning streak in that series just a decade or so ago. All the matters is the present.
The lack of fire in the Tide/Vols rivalry has empowered the brass at LSU who want to ix-nay the permanent cross-division games because they’re scared of playing Florida every year (even through Florida has been up and down more times than a yo-yo since Steve Spurrier left).
Well, if folks want fire back in the UA/UT grudge match, they just might get it. With offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier leaving for the same job at Michigan — an interesting move — it’s being reported that Lane Kiffin will interview for the job. The same Lane Kiffin that Nick Saban invited in for a gridiron powwow just last month. The same Lane Kiffin who took the Tennessee head coaching job in November 2008 and left it for Southern Cal in January of 2010. The same Lane Kiffin whose departure from Rocky Top led students to burn a mattress and Knoxville politicians to try and rename a sewage treatment plant in his honor (really). And if you believe his family, the same Lane Kiffin whose wife and kids received threatening phone calls from irate Volunteer fans after he announced he was leaving.
Lane Kiffin and Alabama versus Tennessee in the fall? Yes, please. According to CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler, Kiffin could be interviewing as early as today for the Crimson Tide gig.
That doesn’t mean Kiffin will land the job, of course. There are other candidates, including former Bama quarterback and current NFL assistant Freddie Kitchens. Alabama receivers coach Billy Napier and former coach-turned-radio-host Rick Neuheisel are also possibilities.
But a Kiffin hire would get our stamp of approval. Next October would see him return to Knoxville and Neyland Stadium. Talk about rekindling a rivalry.
Sorry, LSU fans, CBS/ESPN want you to keep on playing Florida. And most everyone else in the SEC would love to see Kiffin versus Tennessee on annual basis.
What an ironic twist that would be — Kiffin might be the man to help save one of the Tennessee’s oldest traditions, its rivalry with Alabama.
(SIDENOTE — Yes, this is partly tongue in cheek. Sadly, if we didn’t include this disclaimer, we’d be hit with, “You don’t really think the whole league should make its schedule because of one assistant coach do you?!?!!?!?!!” type rage.)