Every season there’s one Saturday where the landscape of college football changes dramatically.
Yesterday, the landscape of college football undertook a dramatic change without a single snap or down played. In the course of an afternoon we found out that an undefeated team has lost its starting QB, and both USC’s are in search of new head coaches.
Of course, I have a few thoughts on all of this (and how it all impacts Tennessee!).
The story that probably has the least amount of impact in the short term for Tennessee is the firing of USC coach Steve Sarkisian. My first thought on this one is — oh, look the Curse of Kiffin is alive and well. That guy just leaves a wake of havoc and chaos in his wake, doesn’t he? I’m not sure why Sarkisian went from being suspended to fired, but I imagine we’ll find out in the next few days. The ultimate irony of this story is ESPN is airing a 30 For 30 tonight focusing on the Pete Caroll era at USC.
The story that caught my interest early was the suspension of Florida QB Will Grier. At first, I was hopeful that this meant the Gators would have to vacate all wins he started, but it looks like that won’t happen. However, I’ve heard that part of the punishment may be a post-season ban which could mean the Vols now have the inside track to go to Atlanta to represent the East in the SEC Championship Game. I am not sure if this is true, but the door is suddenly open for Florida to stumble and Tennessee to benefit. Winning the game over UGA becomes that much bigger now and you can bet I’ll be pulling for Georgia and LSU against the Gators in the coming weeks.
Finally, we have the retirement of the Head Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier. As a Tennessee fan, I’ve come to enjoy hating Steve a good deal and those few years he coached my beloved Washington Redskins were rough (wins and losses as well as having to pretend like I could like the guy!). Now he’s stepping down, mid-season. I think many of us weren’t shocked by the news, but the timing of it all. I figured with how SC’s last few seasons had gone and with how poorly they were doing this year, that Steve would retire to play golf at season’s end. But I didn’t figure it would be now and right before the Gamecocks played Vanderbilt. (In a side note, I had to laugh when a Vandy fan on Twitter immediately said that Spurrier was retiring because he was afraid of Vandy….my response was that he was afraid he’d blow them out so badly he couldn’t retire next week!).
Spurrier leaving is bittersweet because I imagine this is the last time we’ll hear much from him on the coaching circuit. Despite my ill feelings toward him, he changed the face of college football in the SEC. He was always capable of a quick retort and he was always quotable. Bulletin boards across college football will be emptier without his quotes and SEC media days will be less entertaining (though we always have Les Miles, I suppose).
If the SEC Network is wise, they will dump Finebaum and put Spurrier on his place.
Until then, see you around Steve. I will admit part of me hoped to see Butch Jones get one victory over you this year.