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Happy first birthday Knox Kiffin, and other college football observations

Jan 14, 2010, 2:00 PM EDT

Here’s your Jelisa Castrodale for the week, true believers. This week she counsels heartbroken University of Tennessee fans, because she’s from West Virginia, and thus speaks the language of the jilted. Perhaps now, finally, we can put all of this Lane Kiffin ugliness behind us. Probably not, though. Enjoy.
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By Jelisa Castrodale
Knox Kiffin celebrated his first birthday yesterday, which was convenient since he could’ve used any number of flaming sofas or smoldering orange t-shirts to light the candle on his cake. Little Knox is the son of Lane Kiffin, the former (some might say disgraced, others might just snarl and gesture toward their own personal areas) University of Tennessee football coach who single-handedly incited fiery riots in Knoxville this week after announcing that he was leaving to become the new head coach at USC.


Knox was, of course, named for the orange-soaked home of UT, although when his dad is willing to pay $800 grand so he can break his contract and skip town, I think his first name must be Opportunity.
Ever since being introduced as USC’s coach, opinion of Lane “One and Done” Kiffin has been lower than Betty White’s breasts. In addition to the flames and the full-scale destruction of living room furniture, The Rock — one of UT’s landmarks — has been defaced and spray painted with Ray Finkel levels of fury. YOU SUCK LANE is the new LACES OUT DAN. Even Kiffin’s wife Layla has been getting poorly-spelled, horrendously punctuated messages of hatred on her Facebook page, as if she’s going to stop carting all of her bright orange outerwear to Goodwill long enough to scroll through the comments.
This accelerant-scented coaching carousel started last week when the Seattle Seahawks hinted that they’d like to take USC’s Pete Carroll home. After a half-hearted attempt to appear uninterested, Carroll signed with the ‘Hawks, leaving behind a gaping hole on the USC sideline and several closets full of NCAA violations. The Trojans quickly turned to Kiffen — who spent five years as an assistant coach at USC — who just as quickly decided to dump Tennessee like a pregnant prom date. And that’s when the fires started.
Look, UT fans, I’m from West Virginia, so I completely understand. I know the frustration and disappointment of your coach bailing on your team. I understand your anger and your betrayal and your bitterness. I also understand the need to express your emotions by igniting a sleeper sofa. What I don’t understand is why you’re surprised.
At this point, NCAA coaching contracts may as well be written in the post-shower steam that collects on a locker room mirror. They’re temporary, transient and — apparently — easy to ignore. If a coach doesn’t get fired, he’s leaving for something he perceives as better, for something flashier, or for the chance to have a more familiar logo on his university-issued windbreaker.
This isn’t limited to Kiffin or West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez, who broke up with the Mountaineers so he could wear a different shade of blue and gold — sorry, Michigan … blue and maize — in a different state that also has endless winters and an endless affinity for pork by-products.
Just last month, Brian Kelly abandoned Cincinnati, hastily packing his belongings and stacking them in Charlie Weis’ old office at Notre Dame. The only solace for betrayed Bearcats fans is the fact that all of Kelly’s stuff probably smells like Fritos and failure by now.
The list goes on. Bobby Petrino made Kevin Federline look faithful after ditching Louisville and the Atlanta Falcons before settling down with Arkansas. Even Nick Saban left LSU for a two-season fling with the Miami Dolphins, offering repeated denials about his interest in Alabama before selling his soul to Bormezaal the God of Offensive Schemes and becoming the head coach at, yeah, Alabama.
I could go on, but that would require using Google; these are just the guys I could remember off the top of my brain.
So I’m sorry, Tennessee fans. I am. It sucks to see your coach leave, it’s worse to watch a number of spooked recruits back out of their commitments, and it’s gonna be even harder to watch those guys win with other teams. But know you’re not the only ones. So put down the kerosene, give me a hug, then head over to Rooms to Go. I think you probably need a new sofa.
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Jelisa Castrodale is a writer and comedian who has learned a lot about life by making a mess of her own. She chronicles her failures at The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy, covers music for London’s BitchBuzz and twitters while she waits at stoplights. Castrodale was featured in the book Twitter Wit and was named one of Mashable’s 10 Funniest Twitterers.
Also by Jelisa Castrodale …

  1. international television - Feb 10, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    Happy Birthday!