The new year is barely two weeks old and 2010 is already packing quite a punch. Since the start of the year, we have had two major college programs change head coaches with Lane Kiffin becoming the new head coach at USC and Tennessee naming former Louisiana Tech head coach Derek Dooley replacing Kiffin. Both of these coaching hires smell of desperation like a bad perfume at a strip club. If not for the fact that national signing day is right around the corner, I doubt if either of these coaches would have been hired as quickly as they were.
Trojan fans, I know Kiffin is a sexy name. He was a member of the USC coaching staff during its decade of domination in the 2000’s, but as a head coach what has the guy done? He was not successful as coach of the Raiders (but then again under Al “The Dictator” Davis how can anyone be?) and in his only season at Tennessee he was 7-6 with nearly as many secondary NCAA violations to boot.
After talking to a couple of Trojan fans I have come to the conclusion that Kiffin was hired not based on his merits, but on who he had the ability to bring with him. Ed Orgeron and Monte Kiffin are two of the top assistants in the game, no question about it, but if you are using the head coach as simply window dressing then I would take a wait and see approach before getting more giddy than a fat kid in a candy shop over Kiffin’s hiring.
As for Dooley, I must admit that I haven’t followed the Louisiana Tech program very closely but I do know that the Bulldogs always gave a strong effort game in and game out. I’m sure the fact that Dooley has Athletic Director experience didn’t hurt his cause. But at the end of the day his record at LA Tech was 17-20 including 4-8 last season. As far as I’m concerned shouldn’t you have more wins than losses at a little boy conference before getting the opportunity to show what you can do with the big boys? Go figure.
Also in college football, the Boise State Broncos continue to show why they should be considered a threat to both BCS teams and non-BCS teams alike by defeating TCU in the Fiesta Bowl to finish another season unbeaten. I know many people will say the Broncos are only good because they play in a weak conference (which they do) and if they played Florida, Alabama, USC, Texas or any top school they would get pounded but to that I ask, why not let them have their chance? Why not let the Boise’s, BYU’s, Utah’s and TCU’s of the world have the opportunity to prove themselves between the lines? It’s politics like this against the non-BCS conferences combined with the lack of a playoff system that make me dislike college football.
College football’s coach of the decade left southern California to take on new challenges at the NFL level by becoming the new head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. I can’t blame Carroll for wanting to take the opportunity to try to once again prove himself on football’s biggest stage. Combine that with the fact Seattle is paying him a ton of money and giving him the personnel control he has longed for made this decision a no-brainer. After nine years on the college level in which USC had a record of 97-19 that included two national championships, seven consecutive Pac-10 titles, and three Heisman trophy winners, the man had nothing else left to prove.
Carroll is eager to prove he is a better NFL coach than his 33-31 career record indicates. Only the passing of time will tell us if he will be successful. But I will say this, I doubted Carroll once before and he took one of college football’s most historically proud phoenix’s and rose it from the ashes.
Mark McGwire finally admitted to the world he took steroids. The headline should have read, “McGwire admits to the public what it has already known for at least 10 years”. I’m glad McGwire finally got that off his chest and came clean. It’s an obvious step in the right direction for him to try to rebuild his name and image to baseball and its fans. I grew up a big fan of McGwire since we are both from Claremont, Calif. and attended the same elementary school.
At the end of the day, I feel McGwire is a good person with a great heart. I believe him when he says that he wanted to come clean five years ago but was not granted immunity before testifying in front of congress back in 2005. The big problem I have with his apology and his statements in recent interviews with Bob Costas of MLB Network and Bob Ley of ESPN is when he says steroids didn’t help him hit home runs and the only reason he used them was to recover from injury sooner and keep himself on the playing field. If that’s the case, why did he apologize to the Maris family? I think those statements are the equivalent of taking intelligence and kicking it square in the groin.
Although the incident took place in December, the fallout from the Gilbert Arenas gun incident in our nation’s capital continues to take place. It’s still quite early but Arenas is undoubtedly the leader in the clubhouse for the NBA’s Idiot Of The Year Award for his ill-timed humor in a pre-game display at Philadelphia. The man was the center of a big time investigation by law authorities for bringing a gun to an NBA arena. The commissioner was debating on whether or not to suspend Arenas and he reacts to the adversity surrounding him by brandishing his hands like two guns during a pre-game huddle. Not only did Arenas take a stupid pill before that night’s game but he showed he obviously overdosed on said stupid pill. To the surprise of no one, Arenas was suspended the next day.
In the NFL, wild card weekend was capped off by the most exciting game we have seen in years as the Arizona Cardinals emerged victorious in an overtime thriller over the Green Bay Packers. My heart feels for the Packer fans to lose the game they way they did but I feel nothing but happiness for Kurt Warner and the Cardinals. Warner was simply on fire that game throwing more TD passes (5) than incomplete passes (4). Considering the odds that he overcame to make it to the NFL, win two MVP’s, win a Super Bowl and have a rebirth of success at the twilight of his career in Arizona which had been the door mat of NFL franchises for decades, how can you not root for the guy?
On the flip side of that game, I was happy to see Green Bay finish the regular season strong and for Aaron Rodgers to prove to everyone that he has what it takes to lead one of the NFL’s most historically proud franchises for years to come. Green Bay should be a contender for the next several years and I truly believe that Rodgers will have an MVP season on his resumé before his career is said and done.
If the remaining 50 weeks of 2010 are anything like the first two in the world of sports then I will have plenty to write about. I want to wish everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous new year. Thanks for hanging out in the clubhouse.