I just got a bit of breaking news... apparently Tennessee is now negotiating with Conan O'Brien to bring him in as head coach.
OK, yeah, I can do better... you're right... gotta up my game, but I'm still a little groggy.
Seriously though, could this whole situation be any more entertaining? I mean, it's just too perfect. I'm almost surprised that anyone is actually surprised by this.
I'm not sure if there's any truth to the implications in this video... but it almost made me like Urban Meyer for a second.
I also enjoyed this note from Kathleen, put on the blog last night: "Didn't Kiffin say Tennessee would not lose to Georgia as long as he was coach? What a prophet!"
All part of the plan, Kathleen.
My buddy Tom texted me early this morning to let me know he's already turned down an offer to take over at Tennessee. I think that was the wise move.
My favorite quote about the situation came from Georgia Sports Blog, which said, "This is like divorcing a stripper." Indeed.
And as many have pointed out, including an anonymous commenter last night, how much of a screw up do you have to be to make Al Davis look like an intellectual voice of reason.
Schlagdawg posted a link to this absolutely amazing piece of YouTube video of one UT fan's reaction to Kiffy heading west. (Warning: NSFW)
And yesterday, I linked to a list of how various "Lost" characters would make a PB&J sandwich. I figured I could add in Lane's instructions, too:
1.) Complain that Urban Meyer illegally contacted the jelly while it was on UT's campus.
2.) Tell the peanut butter that it'll pump gas for a living if it doesn't become part of his sandwich.
3.) Send players to knock over a convenience store to get the bread.
4.) Include several bananas, a tomato, six Fig Newtons and a Gordita Supreme in the sandwich, but assure everyone that "it's all part of the plan."
5.) Take one bite of sandwich, then trade it in for a pastrami on rye.
OK, OK... enough with the Kiffin jokes. Let's get to some links...
-- Things got pretty ugly in Knoxville last night after the Kiffin news broke.
-- Good point from Dawg Stephen about the foresight by Rodney Garner in this whole mess at Tennessee.
Alright, let's get back to the real subject UGA fans care about -- the DC search.
-- First off, Chip Towers takes a look at how some of the recruits are handling the chaos surrounding the search. I think this is starting to become a bigger and bigger issue. Many of UGA's commitments and recruits have explicitly been told that the search is coming to an end or that they'll be excited about the eventual hire... and those kids have to be starting to wonder right now.
-- Jeff Schultz says if this was how Mark Richt planned for things to shake out, he's got a lot of egg on his face at the moment. I'm inclined to agree with Schultz to an extent, but as others have pointed out, we're debating two separate things right now: The process and the result.
To date, the process has been a bit ugly, and that's not great for business on the recruiting trail. But the result could -- and likely will -- turn out just fine, and that's the real issue.
But I was on 960 the Ref this morning with our pals David Johnston and Stephen Hartzell (where you can catch me each week on Tuesday at 9:05 a.m. -- hint, hint) and I mentioned one other major concern that involves the area where the process and the result overlap.
The names that have been mentioned for the job to date are ones that have gotten fans excited, and for good reason. I'm sure that isn't why Richt talked to them, but that's just the way it is. If Richt goes out now and hires someone that fans are more apathetic (or worse, disappointed) by, that creates a problem of perception.
When Richt canned Willie Martinez & Co., it was for Xs and Os purposes, but also because the environment for those guys had become too toxic, and the heat had been turned up too high for them to stay in Georgia. It was a daily fight against the angry message board mob.
Now, if Richt brings in a guy who was either his fourth or fifth or sixth option, the onus for success once again falls onto the head coach and the new DC. The hot seat is already hot from Day 1. The questions will linger through a long offseason -- did Richt get the right guy? -- and the results will need to occur from Day 1.
If Bud Foster comes in and the defense struggles early, the overwhelming reaction would be, "Well, he's cleaning up Willie's mess. Give him time."
If Joe Schmoe (or Todd Grantham or Travis Jones) comes in as Richt's 5th choice and the defense struggles early, the overwhelming reaction will no doubt be, "See, he wasn't the right guy. Richt screwed this up from Day 1."
That's a ton of pressure to put on the new DC, whomever it ends up being, and that's why the process inherently matters in the end. It's sets the stage through which fans will view the results. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and right now Richt is making it tougher on his next DC with each passing day.
-- Of course, reading Chris Low's commentary on Todd Grantham only further underscores the notion that he can more than handle the job. It seems to me he has essentially the same qualifications (minus a national title) that Kirby Smart has, only he also brings with him an extra decade of experience and and NFL pedigree. He's a Nick Saban protege and clearly someone still valued highly at both the college and NFL levels.
-- One other thing on the DC stuff... I've heard a handful of people suggest Richt simply goes ahead and hires his other assistants to get the ball rolling. That simply won't work. You can't assume the guy you're going to hire as DC is going to be a secondary coach or a D line coach. Who gets hired as DC affects who you need to hire for the rest of the staff. Otherwise you're sort of pigeonholing yourself or asking a DC to take over a position he may not be entirely comfortable with, which makes the sell even more difficult.
Of course, the other question then becomes: If UGA does get someone like Grantham who is a DL coach, what happens with Rodney Garner? And if Grantham brings a 3-4 scheme with him, how does that affect things? There are a lot of moving pieces here.
-- Bill Shanks writes for the Telegraph that Kirby Smart probably made the best decision in the end.
-- The AJC has a really interesting article on the college football "arms race" when it comes to coaches and big salaries asking the question: Is it sustainable?
-- Marc Weiszer takes a look at how different the SEC East is going to look next year.
-- I meant to link to this yesterday, but Florida has a whopping 11 recruits enrolled early this spring. That's fairly impressive, I thought, but then I looked at last year's results and found that, of the 25 players on the SEC's All-Freshman team from 2009, only one -- South Carolina's Stephone Gilmore -- was an early enrollee. So maybe it doesn't make a whole lot of difference.
-- Here's the final Mumme Poll results of the year. I don't have any real problem with how things lined up -- I liked Boise State better than No. 5, but I get it -- so I'm dubbing the 2009 poll a success.
-- It's a Lewis Grizzard Wednesday over at The Grit Tree, which takes to today to remind us that it could always be worse, and it's bound to get better.
-- Libby and Michael will be back on "Lost" for the final season, which is great news. Here are seven more tidbits about Season 6 that we learned from the show's news conference Tuesday. (And as a side note, I think the two things I'll be most upset about if they aren't explained this season are the numbers and what the heck Libby was doing in the insane asylum with Hurley. Those two would nag at me.)
-- I love that Conan is going after NBC and not making this whole mess easy on them. He got absolutely screwed.
-- Jimmy Kimmell spent his entire show last night dressed as Jay Leno.
-- Things aren't exactly going well with the "Scrubs" spinoff, and Bill Lawrence is taking the blame.
-- ABC says it's fixing some problems with "Flash Forward" during the hiatus. I'm not sure I even care anymore.
-- Rotten Tomatoes has its list of the best reviewed films of 2009. I haven't seen "The Hurt Locker" yet, but it's next up in my Netflix queue. (BTW, I went to see "Up in the Air" last weekend... fantastic.)(Second BTW, isn't "queue" the strangest word in the English language to spell?)
-- I know we have a bunch of "Modern Family" fans here, so good news for you -- the show has officially been picked up for Season 2.
-- And finally, I've been embroiled in a rare intellectual (OK, occasionally intellectual) discussion via email with some friends about Mark McGwire's admission of steroid use. Two things worth adding (courtesy of Rob Neyer): 1.) A whole heap o' blame needs to go to Bud Selig, who knew that McGwire was juicing as far back as 1993. And 2.) Just because pro athletes are bad at apologizing doesn't necessarily mean they aren't sincere. I think McGwire might actually feel pretty bad, and this is one of the reasons why.