Relax UT fans: Kiffin said he did nothing wrong

It was was busy weekend with training camp in full swing. So what did we learn?

1. Relax Tennessee fans. Kiffin said he did nothing wrong:  Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton acknowledged at the end of last week that the school may receive a letter of inquiry from the NCAA. My experience is when the school says a letter is coming, it’s probably already in the mail. Tennessee has already self-reported six minor recruiting violations by Kiffin and his staff. NCAA investigators looked into actions by the school’s recruiting hostess program when Kiffin was head coach for 14 unforgettable months. Kiffin left for USC last Janaury but he is proving to be the gift that keeps on giving.

We now know that NCAA investigators were on campus last spring talking to Tennessee  coaches who were part of Kiffin’s staff but remained in Knoxville when he bolted for the West Coast.

“I have great confidence in what we did there, that we didn’t do anything wrong,” Kiffin told reporters over the weekend. “Just because they’re looking into something doesn’t mean we did anything wrong.”

Well, if I’m a Tennessee fan I know I feel a lot better.

2.  SEC West,  ACC Coastal the best: I said in a speech last week that the two top divisions in college football this season would be the SEC West and the ACC Coastal. The first USA Today Coaches Poll proves that out. Four teams in the SEC West (No. 1 Alabama, No. 16 LSU, No. 19 Arkansas, and No. 23 Auburn) were ranked as were four teams in the ACC Coastal (No. 7 Virginia Tech, No. 13 Miami, No. 17 Georgia Tech, No. 18 North Carolina). The round robin in those two divisions will be appointment football this season.

For those of you who are keeping score at home (and I know you are) the SEC had six total teams ranked (No. 3 Florida and No. 21 Georgia From the East) while the ACC had five (Florida State of the Atlantic Division was No. 20)

3. Give Nick Saban credit. He’s consistent: When I met with Alabama coach Nick Saban back in the spring, he made the case to me that Alabama probably shouldn’t be considered the nation’s No. 1 team in the preseason. He made a very logical argument based on the number of starters he would have to replace on defense (9) and the fact that his special teams were simply decimated and he would likely have true freshmen at both kicking spots.

When the coaches poll came out Friday Alabama received 55 of 59 first place votes. One of the four coaches who did not vote Alabama at No. 1 was Saban.

Note: I’m putting the finishing touches on my preseason Top 25. We will release it over five days–five teams a day–starting on Monday, Aug. 16. The top five will be released on Friday, August. 20.

4. Is “grayshirting” fair to the kids? Kevin Scarbinsky wrote a thoughtful piece on the practice of  “grayshirting” players. It’s the practice of signing more than the allotted 25 players with the knowledge that it is a numbers game. If you sign 28 (which is the SEC limit) and all 28 qualify academically, three guys are going to get left without a scholarship. Those three have to pay their own way to school in the fall with the promise that a scholarship will await them in January.

Kevin believes that is not fair to the players and their families who sign in good faith. The counter argument is this is just part of doing business at this level of college football.

Seems to me that if the school is transparent and as long as everybody understands the risks involved up front, then the process is acceptable. If the player and his family are genuinely surprised when he doesn’t get a scholarship in August, then there is a problem. Read Kevin’s story and tell me what you think:

 http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2010/08/scarbinsky_late_grayshirts_a_b.html

5.  Be careful with that “we’re a better team” argument: I know what Florida’s Chris Rainey was trying to say when he told Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun that the Gators would be better off this season without all those “prima donnas” from 2009.

http://www.gatorsports.com/article/20100805/COLUMNISTS/100809707/1044?Title=Rainey-Gators-better-off-without-prima-donnas-

The point young Mr. Rainey was attempting to make was that this team does not have as many high-profile and NFL ready players as last season’s team, which lost quarterback Tim Tebow and five NFL draft choices from the defense. Because so many “name” players are gone this team has to bond in order to be better than the sum of its parts. I get that.

But also know that this was the argument that Georgia made in 2009 after quarterback Matt Stafford, the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, and running back Knowshon Moreno, the No. 12 pick in the draft, were gone.

Bonding and working together are very important in college football. But you can carry that argument to the extreme. There is no substitute for talent. It’s hard to have a good team without good players. It’s REALLY hard to have a great team without great players.

Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

341 comments Add your comment

DeepDiver

August 9th, 2010
5:18 am

al beeski

August 9th, 2010
5:24 am

Enter your comments here

al beeski

August 9th, 2010
5:26 am

tony u meant auburn…right?

17 of 20

August 9th, 2010
5:34 am

The Gators will be a better team this tear Tony. They have better players and the players are better coached than the other schools in the conference.

TommyP

August 9th, 2010
6:31 am

Arkansas has two slots in the top 25????? They must be damn good.

So the Coaches Preseason Poll proved your prediction was right? A preseason poll proved your theory of which two divisions are the best in college football? That’s asinine.

And please….you’re worse than the typical “namedropper” everyone has encountered at some point. You don’t need to include that you made a speech before revealing a prediction. And how many times do you have to tell us that you talked to a certain coach…….

Dude, you’re so full of yourself. “Mr. College Football?” The Yahoo college football blog does a much better job.

UF 89

August 9th, 2010
6:34 am

I also get what Rainey was talking about, but I also see this every year from teams across the nation – these young men talking are doing just that – talking. Regardless of what is being said by the team in Aug – you still have to have the talent and coaching in Sept. The gelling team is a bonus.

Gators “better” this year (D lost excellent pass rush and receivers still unknown)? Hard to see that, but they will be a good team never the less.

The season is finally upon us, gents!

Auburn Man

August 9th, 2010
6:40 am

Saban just doesn’t want his Elephants looking past games worrying about being number one. It doesn’t take long to slip down the pole. Florida, Arkansas and hopefully my Tigers are “appointments” Bama has to keep and can easily drop one or two.

Dip Stick

August 9th, 2010
6:42 am

To TommyP why read a blog you don’t like? Stop taking up space on a blog the rest of us respect. Stay on yahoo. You are one so go be one.

Dip Stick

August 9th, 2010
6:45 am

To TommyP ….Trust me when I say, people on this blog don’t want to listen to the opinion of a schmuck that starts a sentence with the word “Dude”.

F-105 Thunderchief

August 9th, 2010
7:24 am

Whenever Lame Kitten’s gums are a-flappin’ (which is always), there’s a stream of bull flitter coming out. Be afraid, Vols fans, be very afraid. Hamilton is looking really bad.

Spike

August 9th, 2010
7:26 am

Kiffin says he did nothing wrong? Well, there you have it. That should be enough for the NCAA, right? And Slick Willie said, as he wagged his finger at us, “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky..”

Dooley the Vol

August 9th, 2010
7:34 am

Fumer for AD.

Charlie Bama

August 9th, 2010
7:40 am

Lane Kiffin is a massive pant load of arrogance and footfall ineptitude of near-Biblical proportions and football fandom should do everything within its collective ability to discourage him. Just sayin’ America . . .

Beast from the East

August 9th, 2010
7:41 am

1…..Kiffin is a scumbag. That being said, I have mixed emotions about the investigation at UT. On the one hand, I say let them get what they deserve for hiring him. On the other, I say I hope it’s nothing big because they cannot afford to be decimated any worse than they already have been.
2…..No argument there based on the pre-season polls. Let’s see how it plays out over the course of the season, though.
3…..Saban’s just sand-bagging. They all do it.
4…..I don’t like the “grayshirting” practice. Either offer the kid a full ride or leave them alone so they can sign with another school that is willing to. Just a real shady practice all the way around.
5…..UF will be better than last year? I seriously doubt it. They would have to go 14-0 to accomplish that feat. Don’t see THAT happening with the schedule we have and the questions we still have to answer. Rainey would be better served to immerse himself into the playbook and learn his new role this year instead of making quotes.
Go Gators!

[...] When I met with Alabama coach Nick Saban back in the spring, he made the case to me that Alabama probably shouldn’t be considered the nation’s No. 1 team in the preseason. He made a very logical argument based on the number of starters he would have to replace on defense (9) and the fact that his special teams were simply decimated and he would likely have true freshmen at both kicking spots. When the coaches poll came out Friday Alabama received 55 of 59 first place votes. One of the four coaches who did not vote Alabama at No. 1 was Saban. [More] [...]

Charlie Bama

August 9th, 2010
7:43 am

Lane Kiffin and Al Gore separated at birth, but soon reunited on the stage of publicly-displayed chumpery and eventually deep in the dumpster of global scammery. Still Just Sayin’….

Charlie Bama

August 9th, 2010
7:47 am

Hey, Tony: Changed my mind. TommyP and Al Gore separated at birth. Good luck boys!

Paddy

August 9th, 2010
7:48 am

Tommy P…go somewhere else then, dude!! What a Maroon!!

Gator Mike

August 9th, 2010
7:55 am

I also have mixed emotions about the potential problems facing UT as a result of hiring kiffin. However, there are a lot of good Vol fans out there who are not obnoxious, and they do not deserve this nonsense.
The UT president needs to get rid of the AD (Hamilton) as a first step in restoring UT’s image. Hamilton kicked Fulmer out the door and hired kiffin; therefore, Hamilton is part of their problem.
UT should then formally apologize to Fulmer and bring him back in some capacity to represent the university he devoted his life to since he enrolled there as a freshman. I am not saying he needs to be in the athletic department, but he can surely be a positive voice for UT and the SEC. After all, how many other coaches in the SEC have won a national title in the last 20 years.
UT will most likely get burned because of the hostess deal, and kiffie and hamilton are to blame.

Charlie Bama

August 9th, 2010
7:56 am

Enter your comments here

H Back

August 9th, 2010
7:58 am

1. Tenn needs to get taken to the cleaners by the NCAA for hiring a nut like Kiffin.
2. SEC West might be a better dvision, but the best team in the country this year is in the SEC East, and goes by UGA.
3. Nick Saban was lobbying with reporter for a non #1 ranking because he knows how reporters rank, based ONLY on the previous year’s final polls. Saban’s the most inconsistent coach in America, and has only finished in the final top 10 polls consecutively 1x in his career, 2010 will NOT be the 2nd. 50% of Saban’s years are 7 wins or less seasons. He’s the “human yo yo”. does win a Natl Champ every decade, that’s about it.
4. Any team led by an untested QB like Brantley really has no realistic chance at winning more than 9 or 10 games. He’ll get torches by Bama, LSU, and Georgia’s defenses. Probably will lose to FSU also. MSU will give them a fight. Meyer’s never done anything without Strong or Tebow, really not a good coach, just a lucky coach.

Say What???

August 9th, 2010
7:59 am

I agree with Beast from the East in that I don’t think Floriday will be “better” than they were last year. Its just not logical. They will be really, really good (unfortunately), but they will not be better.

As for Lane Kiffen, I hate this guy more and more… He is a snake oil salesman. That’s it! Only out for what is best for himself. He runs his mouth for an entire year about how he will bring Tennessee back to it former glory, accuses almost every coach in the SEC of cheating, and then sneaks out of town to take another job. Now, as if that was not enough for the Vols, the NCAA is completing a formal investigation into what he was doing for the less than 365 days he was the head coach. This guy is a virus. Plain and simple… The NCAA has got to come up with a way to penalize coaches for the things that they are guilty of even if they leave to go to another school.

Leonard

August 9th, 2010
8:01 am

TENNESSEE is already stacking the negatives, so Dooley is set up for excuses on why he only won 4 games.

dooley has a 17-20 record, he was a losing coach BEFORE Tenn, and will have a losing record, after Tenn. As their 12th coach, he’s there for a couple of years until they fnd somebody better.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
8:01 am

Rainey caught a lot of flak for his commnet in Gainesville. And I don’t think he will be facing the media much the rest of the season. But Rainey is one Gator that has improved a lot over the summer…and should have a very positive impact on the Gators this year. He is bigger (more muscle mass) and just as fast.

And Tony….

there is a big difference in talent in Gainsville compared to what was on that Georgia team you mentioned. Much, much better talent…And….you might as well get used to reporting about these two young fellows….Shariff Floyd (DT) and Ronald Powell (DE). They will be impact players as freshmen. Both have had no semblance to freshmen so far in camp. The vet players are just raving about Floyd….very mean and very powerful dude. The Gators do need Powell to step up at DE this year and be an impact pass rusher in 2nd and 3rd and long situations.

Paul in RDU

August 9th, 2010
8:02 am

H Back – If any team with an untested QB “really has no realistic chance at winning more than 9 or 10 games” how do you expect UGA to be the best team in the nation? Is Aaron Murray tested?

Chipper Jones would've graduated magna cum laude had he chosen to matriculate at Florida

August 9th, 2010
8:03 am

Gray shirting sounds like another good argument for allowing players to have agents. Signing with a school doesn’t mean you get a scholarship, it just means you get the CHANCE for a (1-year) scholarship and you won’t know until August if you actually get it. Gotta love big-time college football.

H Back

August 9th, 2010
8:04 am

Murray is tested in high school playted for 5AAAAAA powerhouse Plant High School, annihilated the competition, won a state championship. Brantley played for tiny 2b div Trinity Catholic. Brantley’s completely untested at high school & college level. Murray’s 10x better.

H Back

August 9th, 2010
8:06 am

Since 1986, Richt’s had 14 CONSECUTIVE top 10 final poll finishes.

Saban’s had 1.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
8:06 am

I called Kiffin “Lane Duck” all year last year…and caught a lot of flak from Vols fans…because I knew he was a one and done head coach there. The question is…is he still a “Lame Duck” at USC. Probably not, but I would expect Haden will not tolerate what was tolerated in Knoxville last year. I hope things work out OK for Dooley….he is the polar opposite of Kiffin….but Kiffin might have killed his chances at success at Tennessee. I hope not. The SEC needs coaches like Dooley and does not need coaches like Kiffin. Thank goodness he is gone.

Leonard

August 9th, 2010
8:08 am

Dooley is trying to lower expectations, so he doesn’t get fired after his losing seasons in 2010-2011. This is what coaches with a losing mentality do. They lower expectations and make excuses for losing seasons. 17-20 record, hiring Dooley was a mistake.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
8:09 am

H Back….are you really trying to convince yourself that Richt is a better head coach than Saban??? Really!!! How many national titles has Richt won in those 14 consecutive years??? SEC titles??? I think Saban has one 2 NC and several SEC titles in far less years coaching in the SEC.

Paul in RDU

August 9th, 2010
8:09 am

1) Since Kiffin was at USC when many of the Bush shenanigans were going on, and he behaved like an idiot at UT, it looks like the NCAA is applying scarce resources to investigate his actions.
2) Let’s see how many are ranked at the end of October.
3) ALA’s SID obviously listens to Saban – I hope no-one thinks Saban has time for voting.
4) When football coaches are using the same techniques as one of the industries with the worst records dealing with customers (airlines overbooking) it is not a good thing.
5) I don’t see how you can lose so many good players and be a “better team”. Reminds me of the UGA fans a couple of years ago and some of my GT friends this year.

TommyJack

August 9th, 2010
8:10 am

Leonard, 8:01 .. Is Leonard your screen name? No one would really name a kid Leonard. Would they?

Paul in RDU

August 9th, 2010
8:12 am

H Back – By your logic Joe Cox was a “tested QB” his freshman year at UGA. Independence won the NCHSAA highest level all 3 years he was starting QB and in 1 of those years USA Today rated them #1 in the nation.

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
8:13 am

1) Kiffin said he did nothing wrong. Maybe. Basing on article on his word which is dubious at best aint too bright. This guy has been caught in a slew of incidences where either he is a liar or the person contradicting his statment is a liar. Are they all lying and Kiffin is the truth teller?

2) SEC west the strongest? Easily. 3 BCS titles in the 2000s and AU could have had a chance for a 4th BCS title by 3 different division teams in the 2000s. Since the inception of the 2 division format 5 of the 6 division teams have won the division. Show me another division in college football that can claim that sort of balance. Even the team predicted to finish last Ole Miss has 2 straight 9-4 seasons with whippings of 2 Big 12 opponents in the Cotton Bowl.

3 )Saban consistent- I’m glad he underplays the team. People forget that coming into the 09 season we were breaking in 8 new starters on offense including 3 new O-lineman. What I like about the new defensive starters is that of the 9 new starters most like Donta Hightower aren’t new starters at all. The reality is that 5 of the new starters have started multiple games over the last couple years and played in the regular defensive rotation the last few years. The only true “new” starter with less than 3 years in the system will be true soph and the nation’s top corner coming out of high school Dre Kirkpatrick. The other 3 true new starters are all 3rd year guys.

4) Grayshirting- In Bama’s case we had 2 players grayshirt one of whom is still not fully recovered from a foot injury suffered his senior year in high school We have never had a problem grayshirting 1 or 2 players a year for the sole reason that the grayshirt possibility is explained upfront to the recruits during the recruiting process so the recruit is not surprised if it ends up happening. In the case of the LSU recruit being upset and asking to be let out of his letter of intent by Miles the blame lies totally with Miles for not explaining to the young man that a grayshirt was a possibility.

Tony you also fail to explain the downside of undersigning vs oversigning as Saban does. I would much rather oversign and have the possibility of 1 or 2 players a year grayshirt then undersign and because of attrition end up playing the year with only 68 or 72 scholarship players as UT and AU did last year. It leaves a team at a competitive disadvantage depthwise. And come on. Which is worse? 1 or 2 players delaying enrollment or 13 or 17 scholarships going unused? In the case of UT or AU last year that would be 13 and 17 young men, mostly poor and black, that missed the opportunity to play major college football at a big time university. Ever think of it that way?

5)Chris Rainey- losing prima donnas bolsters team unity? True but I don’t know if you could call guys like Tebow or Spikes prima donnas. Leaders yes. Prima donnas no. In any event the gators are still loaded with talent and should be fearsome as usual.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
8:13 am

Also…H Back…you have uses that HS comparison for Murray/Brantley under many other post names…and it is a tired story by now. Can’t you come up with anything better than saying Murray is 10 times better than Brantley because of high school performances. Son…this ain’t high school anymore…and Brantley isn’t playing for Trinity High School (who year in and year out puts out top Division 1 football talent) anymore. Brantley is the real deal…dude…you might as well grow up and see reality.

H Back

August 9th, 2010
8:13 am

Florida has 6 games where they’ll might lose:
Bama, LSU, Georgia, MSU, SC, FSU

I don’t see any way, with an untested QB like Brantley, they win more than 2 of those 6 games, maybe MSU & SC.

Paul in RDU

August 9th, 2010
8:14 am

Mark Richt must be some kind of magician. According to H Back he’s had 14 consecutive top 10 final poll finishes and this year is only his 10th as an HC

I am not going to be the head coach at Alabama. I am the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

August 9th, 2010
8:19 am

I wouldn’t believe Kiffin if he told me it was going to be hot today.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
8:19 am

Tide Rising….

There is a reason you haven’t heard much from Chris Rainey in the past. He isn’t exactly a polished public speaker. I think he just made a bad choice of words with the “prima donna” comment. Florida did lose its team focus for the SEC championship game (the Dunlap and Spikes incidents that took the focus off the team and put in on a couple of players). I think that is what Rainey was referring to with his comment about NFL prima donnas…and probaly more about Dunlap than Spikes. I also think he was reflecting on Tebow and the mega star of the team. The Gators do not have a mega star like him this year…and it removes a little bit of the spotlight off an extremely talented football team.

H Back

August 9th, 2010
8:21 am

Meyer’s grade school pysch approach ain’t goona work this year.

He’s trying to get his team to fewll like ‘underdogs’, nobody respects us, nobody thinks we’ll be good because we don’t have any big names.

Usually, when Meyer starts rolling out this grade school pysch garbage, it’s another 5-3 SEC year for Florida under Meyer.

Bottom line, fact, they don’t have anywhere near the level of talent, from a coaching standpoint without Strong, or player standpoint.

Urban Meyer will never win another National Championship.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
8:22 am

Paul in RDU….

He was probably counting Richt’s time with FSU….because that is how (whoever’s name he is posting under today) thinks.

Joey

August 9th, 2010
8:22 am

UT may regret the Kiffin “era” for a long time. Whether or not Kiffin broke rules, Tony, something needs to be done about coaches that cheat, then skate away to bigger paydays, and leave the school to suffer the consequences of HIS actions.

The NCAA should impose “pay-back penalties” of some sort, where the cheating coach should have to pay-back to the sanctioned school, a percentage of his earnings while at employed there, plus a percentage of his earnings at his new employment, where ever that may be.

Make the Lou Holtzs, Pete Carrolls, John Caliparis, Lane Kiffins (?) of the coaching fraternity think twice about cheating, then leaving for even bigger bucks, while the school loses scholarships and money.

RambleOn84

August 9th, 2010
8:23 am

ACC Coastal is very good, but SEC West is the best division in football. Ole Miss and Miss State are better than Duke and UVA, although Duke might be better than expected this year (5-7 or 6-6 would be my prediction).

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
8:24 am

Tampagator,

I would agree. I think Rainey just used a bad choice of words in saying prima donna and that’s pretty much it.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
8:25 am

I.E…..the 8:21 post. Yeah….Meyer has has a lot of 5-3 years in the SEC!!! And…he will never win another NC. Good thinking there. He has already won two. I guess, according to his high level thinking processes, Richt is a better coach because he took his team to Shreveport last year and never has won a NC….so he is more like to win one. SMART!!!

Walt

August 9th, 2010
8:25 am

“Hamilton is looking really bad.”

Hamilton should be fired. He has screwed everything up that he has touched.

Attendance off, debt sky-rocketing, players brawling, coaches bolting, won-loss record in the toilet.

Walt

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
8:25 am

Is H back Pat Sulley in disguise?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

August 9th, 2010
8:29 am

kiffin will get what he deserves, trust me. karma folks, karma. i agree the sec west is stacked only because the east has some many questions in regards to practically a new QB at every school, except sc.

poopdawg

August 9th, 2010
8:30 am

TampaGator, the spotlight has not been removed. The Gators are preseason #3. Tony a preseason poll PROVES nothing, so don’t get all giddy.