5-at-10: College football coaches carousel, LSU's playoff path, Tiger still Tiger

Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin on the sidelines against Arkansas during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin on the sidelines against Arkansas during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

College coaching carousel

So, Lane Kiffin is reportedly headed to Auburn. This from a TV guy in Mississippi, and his report drew a bunch of in-state backlash, including some mockery from Lane himself.

Here’s Kiffin’s social media response to the reporter, and then here’s Kiffin’s faux "breaking news" about said reporter leaving his job for another job in similar wording. 

(Side note: While we’re at it, Kiffin also bagged on his son for sending a DM to Miss. State QB Will Rogers asking the Ole Miss rival for his towel after Thursday’s Egg Bowl, posting, “Knox (face-palm emoji). Talking to the enemy. West Coast kid.”)

(Side note on the side note: If Twitter goes belly-up, I will miss Lane Kiffin on Twitter.)

(Side question on the side note on the side note: Did you see ESPN baseball ace Jeff Passan — one of the truly great news reporters still working in Bristol — has left Twitter and gone to Instagram because of the turbulence?)

Where were we? Oh yeah, the coaching carousel.

I do not know whether Lane will leave Oxford for Auburn. As long as Auburn gets Kiffin or Freeze, both tremendous upgrades in almost every regard to Bryan Harsin, that’s good by me.

Let’s review some of the other notable gigs that have come open.

South Florida seems like a strange place to start, but if the Bulls can lure Deion Sanders back to the Sunshine state, that would be the biggest home run hire of the cycle. Yes, I thought Deion would be headed to a Power Five gig too, but according to this, Prime Time has become the top target for Colorado and USF. 

And know this, Deion recruiting Florida kids would be a problem, people.

Before we get to some other tidbits, could Texas A&M back up the truck and pay Jimbo to go away. Fisher’s team started the season No. 6 in the country, and with A&M’s loss to Auburn and Vandy’s surge to a potential bowl bid, if we had an SEC power poll, the Aggies are DFL. Think about that. 

Granted, A&M is well-heeled and has pockets as deep as almost any non-private school in the country, but it would cost $86 million to fire Jimbo before 2023. Wow. 

That said, here are my thoughts on the big openings other than our above conversation about Auburn.

Georgia Tech: I think the Jackets will rue the day they did not get in the Deion discussions. That said, the timing simply can’t work for a program without an AD, because if you hire Coach Prime before you hire his boss, well, Coach Prime — and most everyone else — will assume Coach Prime is the boss. I have heard from a good buddy with Tech ties that Jamey Chadwell from Coastal Carolina is their top choice. That said, Brent Key — a Tech alum who loves that program — has represented himself quite well as the interim, and if Chadwell does not work out, Tech could do — and has done — far worse in previous coaching hires.

Nebraska: This one is a pickle, because they just fired the best candidate Nebraska could ever land in Scott Frost, a former NU star who was the hottest name in coaching after building UCF into a power. Now where? One report I read says Alabama OC Bill O’Brien could be a frontrunner. As for O’Brien restoring the glorious days of NU nostalgia that forced them to can Bo Pelini for "only" winning nine games a year, well cue Lloyd Christmas, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance.”

WIsconsin: Another place that jettisoned an alum and now is wondering if they can find someone better. (Side note: That’s the one thing the always divided Auburn fan base can agree on right now. There’s almost no way even Auburn could find a worse fit for an SEC power program than Harsin.) You have to think the Badgers will make Kansas coach and Cheese State native Lance Leipold say no. Either with a new address or the same one, Leipold is in that Kiffin, “We about to get P-A-I-D" club.

Arizona State: Is Jake Plummer available? What about Jake from StateFarm? If the latter brings Patty Mahomes, that’d be fine.

Colorado: If you want to be relevant, get in the Deion discussions. And if given a Power Five NIL budget, imagine what Prime Time could do in the portal. Would he be at Colorado a year or three, most likely, but that two-way street of convenience would help the Buffs, too.

It would be interesting to see if any of these jobs could lure names like Luke Fickell (Cincinnati), Matt Campbell (Iowa State) and Dave Doeren (NC State) who have crafted strong resumés at programs that almost certainly have reached their ceilings.

Or whether some other potential openings — here’s a guess that Stanford and maybe West Virginia will be available — could, too.


College rankings

Wow that got wordy. Who knew?

Let’s broach the topic that has to be covered: What happens if LSU wins out over the next 10 days?

The college football playoff rankings seem pretty clear now, right? Georgia is rightly one, THE Ohio State and Michigan are two and three respectively, followed by TCU and LSU. Each of the first four is 11-0; LSU is 9-2.

We know the top five can’t win out because two plays three Saturday, and one plays five in the SEC title game.

The two-three winner will be a huge favorite in the Big Ten title game. TCU will be favored to win out too, but we know the Frogs will find themselves in a tight struggle at least once. But they are football amphibious, which means they can breathe on offense and defense as needed.

So, if LSU wins, they get home right?

With an LSU win, the rankings would look Big Ten winner (provided it’s THE OSU-Michigan winner) as the one, TCU the two, LSU the three and Georgia the four, right? Maybe three and four flipped, but that’s the four right?

Because even if USC wins out as a 12-1 Pac-12 champ, the SEC champion can’t be left out or that devalues the season and especially the title games immensely.

Because, if you think USC should be there, would LSU be the pick over a one-loss Georgia that has been the best team week-in, week-out all season?

The committee needs some help over the next 10 days, if you ask me. And with the possible exception of Alejandro, BeardDawg, Dawg747, Jules and some of the other regulars around these parts, there is no bigger collection of Georgia Bulldog backers than the selection committee that first weekend in December.

Impressive Fore

Again, pretty wordy. (Side note: not having to run the 5-at-10 morning cafe of a half-dozen breakfasts and two school lunches allows for more time, and more time equals more words. Sue me.)

So, the PGA Tour Player Impact Program — the popularity ratings system the Tour uses to try to increase the profiles and popularity of players, and their motivation to help in that process — has been decided.

Shockingly, Tiger Woods was the popular and took home $15 million in bonus money. 

Yeah, he’s got a billion or so, but getting a $15 million Thanksgiving bonus is pretty dang sweet, no?

The top four were Woods, Rory ($12 million), JT and Jordan. More details can be found here.

That Tiger finished first seems like “sky is blue, grass is green” kind of simple. But it is kind of amazing, considering he played all of nine competitive rounds in 2022. Yes, nine.

He still finished 41st in the computer-measured Neilsen ratings, which measures how much time a player was shown during the broadcast.

Woods ranked first in the other four metrics of Google searches, media mentions, public awareness and social media engagement and reach. 

Again people, Tiger played nine rounds — 162 holes — of professional golf this year.

This and that

— Speaking of golf, did you know the next Match 7.0 (or whatever it is) will have Tiger, Rory, JT and Jordan. I’m intrigued by that. And if they want to really roll the dice with a Match 8.0, give me Tiger and Rory vs. Phil and DJ in the PGA vs. LIV spectacular.

— Another 2-0 night for the Plays of the Day. Don’t tell anyone but another 2-0 day could be considered a winning streak, right Lou Brown. 

— You know the rules. Here’s Paschall on the Vols’ Columbia collapse, the Gamecock gouging, the Carolina collapse or whatever other alliterative description for a defensive disaster you can coin. 

— Well played, THE baby center at THE Ohio State University. The baby swaddles this week say, “Beat Xichigan” and the caps look like THE helmets at THE OSU. Well played indeed. 

— Tread easy Peter Burns. Dude crossed a line with former NFL star tight end and Georgia All-American Ben Watson (who is a genuinely great man by the way) with jokes on the SEC Network set. 

Today’s questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way:

After the above Lou Brown reference, which baseball movie manager is the best: Skip from “Bull Durham,” Lou Brown from “Major League,” Morris Buttermaker from “Bad News Bears” or other (specify)?

For UT fans, Saturday was all-time bad. Which of your favorite team’s losses was the most painful? For me, it’s easy. Jameis Winston to Kelvin Benjamin in the final minute of the BCS title game after the 2013 season.

Which U.S. sports star of my lifetime is/was bigger globally, Tiger or MJ?

That’s some heavy business. Have at it and enjoy the crazy time of year friends. Because when the kids move on, you’re going to miss this madness.

As for today, Nov. 23, let’s review.

Miley Cyrus is 30 today. Egad, that will make you feel old that Hannah Montana is 30.

You know the week. Rushmore of ‘Thanks’ and be creative.

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