A point-by-point inspection of Kiffin-gate

February, 5, 2009
2/05/09
8:23
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Here's a 25-point reality check now that the smoke has cleared from Lane Kiffin's erroneous assertion earlier Thursday that Urban Meyer was cheating, resulting in Kiffin being publicly reprimanded by SEC commissioner Mike Slive:

 
  AP Photo/Wade Payne
  Tennessee's Lane Kiffin was reprimanded by the SEC on Thursday for falsely accusing Florida coach Urban Meyer of a recruiting violation. The new Vols' coach has apologized for his remarks.
1. The 33-year-old Kiffin -- young, wild and free -- obviously couldn't care less what anybody in the SEC thinks about him, and he cares even less about whose toes he steps on.

2. Kiffin and his staff at Tennessee think the Vols are going to be something to see in a few years. They use words like "when" and not "if" when they talk about winning national championships.

3. Tennessee fans are ecstatic about Kiffin calling Meyer out ... even if Kiffin was uninformed about what was an NCAA rule and what wasn't. As one fan told me Thursday, "It's been so stale around here for a long time. It's nice to have a coach with a little swagger."

4. Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton obviously was OK with what Kiffin said Thursday morning. Hamilton was at the breakfast and was quoted as saying it was a "phenomenal event" and lauded Kiffin for doing a "nice job" of interacting with the coaches. Wonder if Hamilton would have said that had he known his coach was about to be reprimanded by the SEC a few hours later?

5. Florida's Jeremy Foley is the most powerful athletic director in the SEC. When he speaks, people listen. It's been that way for a couple of years now. He demanded an apology from Kiffin and quickly got one after Kiffin was reprimanded by the league.

6. The school system in Pahokee, Fla., probably won't be putting out any welcome mats for Kiffin and his staff anytime soon. Go back and read Kiffin's comments. He essentially said that the good folks in Pahokee have a way of doctoring, misplacing or simply screwing up things for a kid unless he's going exactly where they want him to go.

7. Kiffin has assembled a staff of coaches that can recruit their rear ends off.

8. Meyer will do everything in his power to kick Kiffin and the Vols' rear ends at the Swamp next Sept. 19.

9. Meyer was already going to try and kick Kiffin and the Vols' rear ends before Kiffin popped off.

10. It's no coincidence that Kiffin included Alabama coach Nick Saban in the fray. Alabama and Florida are the two schools everybody in the SEC is chasing right now, and they're the two schools Tennessee has to play every year.

11. Several SEC coaches confirmed there was no gentlemen's agreement in the league or unwritten policy that you don't call recruits when they're on an official visit at another school. Nobody likes it when it happens, but it does go down from time to time in the SEC.

12. Florida thinks the reason Nu'Keese Richardson went to Tennessee was because he was scared of getting lost in Andre Debose's shadow.

13. Tennessee thinks that's just sour grapes because the Gators couldn't hold onto a player from their state that they had committed for eight months.

14. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier hinted around a couple of months ago that Kiffin might be in violation of NCAA rules by calling recruits before taking his certification test. Well, Kiffin had already taken the test and shot back that he got 39 out of 40 right. We now know which question he missed.

15. Spurrier wasn't reprimanded by the SEC, but he was a little more coy in making his comments and wasn't as specific. He's also the Head Ball Coach.

16. The fact that Kiffin has never won an SEC game, never coached in an SEC game or never even run an SEC practice hasn't dented his confidence level one bit. So what if these guys he's popping off about have combined for four national championships and 10 SEC championships?

17. Whether he meant to or not, Kiffin made sure the spotlight nationally Thursday was squarely on Tennessee -- a day after Alabama and Florida landed two of the top signing classes in the country.

18. Tennessee fans were relieved that Kiffin didn't get up on the podium Thursday and say, "I'll have to see the film." It's a phrase former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer recited in his sleep.

19. Florida fans were relieved that Kiffin gave the Gators some serious bulletin-board material -- as if the Gators need bulletin-board material to ring up 50-plus points on somebody.

20. If Kiffin can't coach, he'll go down as the biggest blowhard in the history of the SEC.

21. If Kiffin can coach, he'll go down as the greatest thing to hit the state of Tennessee since Elvis and the Jack Daniel's distillery.

22. If Kiffin doesn't win an SEC championship or go to a BCS bowl within five years, none of this will matter. He'll probably be looking for another job.

23. The obsession with recruiting in the SEC and rabid interest by fans is borderline scary.

24. Kiffin is either really reckless, really rambunctious, really robust ... or maybe all of the above.

25. Either way, he's certainly spiced up a Florida-Tennessee rivalry that hasn't been much of one the last few years.

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