Lane Kiffin's Ole Miss team is averaging 52.6 points per game and has catapulted all the way to No. 12 in the Associated Press rankings. The Rebels have dismantled Louisville, Austin Peay, and Tulane. This Saturday brings a slightly different battle in Tuscaloosa against Alabama. Pardon The Interruption bravely did what few ESPN shows are doing right now and highlighted the upcoming college football matchup. Michael Wilbon took the opportunity to say this:
"Lane Kiffin's a clown. Lane Kiffin has been an embarrassment at multiple stops. I mean, no one's going to run out there and say yeah, I want Lane Kiffin right here on the logo representing me ... Once again Lane Kiffin represents embarrassment at some point wherever he is."
Kiffin, as one might expect, responded by first taking the high road of mental clarity last night before waking up and further addressing the situation this morning.
The Kiffin narrative probably needs to be revisited. Yes, his early forays into the NFL and college football coaching didn't end particularly well. The Raiders, Volunteers and Trojans all decided to explore different options after lackluster results. But Kiffin was impressive at Florida Atlantic, winning 11 games in two of his three years there while rebranding as a more mature version of himself. He brought Ole Miss back to .500 and won the Outback Bowl in his first Oxford year. Unlikely as it may be, his team will control its own playoff destiny with an upset win against Alabama. Most impressively, his entire roster is vaccinated.
That should represent pride, not embarrassment.
The guy coaching against Nick Saban on Saturday is a different guy than the one who coached for him at Alabama. And certainly a different guy from 13 years ago who was trying to handle an obscene amount of pressure at an early age. One can understand why comments like Wilbon's would get under Kiffin's skin.
That's it. That's all I have. Guess this post is going out on a limp.