Too often these days, you have to stop and wonder why a person is famous or in the position they are. Objectively analyzing some of the things that occur or some of the people that rise into stardom makes you fear where society is headed.

That anyone cares Paris Hilton is even alive betrays all strands of logical thinking. If she wasn’t born into excessive wealth, would anyone care she exists? There are thousands of other ditzy chicks in Southern California who are just as prone to being stupid, but they aren’t in the public spotlight because they weren’t born with silver spoons in their mouths.

The football equivalent to this quandary is Lane Kiffin. He’s the new football coach at USC, getting one of the plum collegiate jobs in the country without ever having done anything worthwhile as a head coach.

Kiffin skipped several steps of the coaching ladder by becoming the Oakland Raiders head coach at age 31 three years ago. It’s not his fault that nobody wanted to work for Raiders owner Al Davis. And you can’t fault anyone from taking a job that’s going to pay him 10 times his previous salary.

The Raiders job has become a revolving door of circus acts and nobody figured Kiffin would last long in Oakland. He didn’t, getting fired early in the 2008 season with a 5-15 record in 20 games as head coach.

Davis came to despise the boy wonder fairly quickly and you could almost see Kiffin saying “take that Al Davis” when he had kicker Sebastian Janikowski attempt a 76-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds of the first half against the San Diego Chargers. Since the NFL record is 63 yards, it was no surprise that the kick fell more than 10 yards short.

A couple days after that game, Kiffin was fired.

You figured he would go back to being a college assistant coach and coordinate an offense or defense and get more experience. But surprisingly, the University of Tennessee offered him its head-coaching position after forcing long-time coach Phillip Fulmer out the door.

So Kiffin took over the Volunteers and made more noise off-the-field than on it. He got into public spats with several SEC coaches, including Florida coach Urban Meyer – hey, Urban’s stress level just went down several notches – and was caught committing several secondary NCAA violations.

The charges grew bigger in December when the football program was hit with allegations of using the school’s “Orange Pride” hostesses to recruit offcampus. And of course, there was the recent incident in which three Tennessee football players were involved in a robbery.

That’s a lot of turmoil for 14 months on the job and Kiffin’s first on-field season wasn’t exactly up to Tennessee’s standards. The Volunteers went 7-6 and were smacked around big-time (37-14) by Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Meanwhile, Kiffin was talking a big game about how the Volunteers were just getting going under his watch. He even named his son Knox – the school is located in Knoxville – and routinely made comments about how committed he was to the university.

Then Pete Carroll leaves USC for the Seattle Seahawks and Trojans athletic director Mike Garrett’s main targets – including Oregon State’s Mike Riley and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Jack Del Rio – weren’t interested. So presto, Kiffin, a former USC assistant, suddenly enters the mix and takes the job.

So much for commitments, so much for “Orange Pride” and so much for loyalty. According to media reports, Kiffin’s final meeting with the Tennessee players was tension-filled as the players felt betrayed.

But if you analyze this another way, you’ll realize one other thing – Kiffin had to take the USC job. He had no choice.

Remember, he hasn’t done squat as a head coach. If he had two more so-so (or worse) seasons at Tennessee coaching against the powerful coaches in the SEC, perhaps the Knoxville natives would have been calling for Kiffin’s head.

You see, when you haven’t accomplished anything, you have to move on before the proof surfaces. Kiffin is now beginning his third head-coaching job and nobody can for-sure tell you whether he can coach or not.

Just as nobody can tell you why Paris Hilton is relevant.

  1. Dave Brown says:

    I think Pete Carroll made a huge mistake leaving USC. And now we’re stuck with Kiffin. (This could be as bad as the low point when the Trojans tied the SDSU Aztecs in 1992.) Norm Chow would have been a better choice, and could probably really help Matt Barkley, if only he weren’t on the staff at UCLA. Which raises the question: Why does Mike Garrett still have a job? USC should fire him and hire another Heisman winning alum: O.J.!!

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