Reaction Monday: Lane Kiffin, Auburn surging, CFB Playoff rankings and more

Ahh, Monday. Happy Halloween by the way. We have finished nine weeks of SEC football, and we’ve learned a lot, even though we still have things to learn. On this week’s edition of our new series Reaction Monday, I react to the things that happened this past weekend and talk about some other interesting topics. Let’s dig in right away.

Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin needs to get a head coaching job and quickly. If I were an athletic director and couldn’t get Tom Herman or convince Bobby Petrino to leave Louisville, Kiffin would be No. 1 on my list.

For one thing, the guy flat-out knows offense. I mean look at what he’s done with Alabama. He’s transformed them into a dangerous spread attack that can also run the football (sometimes with the help of Nick Saban’s “a$$ chewings”)

Under Kiffin, Alabama has had a top offense no matter who played quarterback. He is the ultimate quarterback whisperer, and some of the past criticism of Kiffin has been unwarranted. Yeah, some people might think he’s a jerk (see UT fans), but if he can coach football, who really cares?

Kiffin has had coaching experience since he graduated from Fresno State in 1996. His first head coaching stint came in 2007 when he coached for two seasons in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders. Yeah, it did not go very well, but then again coaching at Oakland is a step above coaching for the Cleveland Browns – it’s where coaches go to die (usually).

While his success was very limited in the NFL, college coaching was a different story. He was hired as the head coach at Tennessee in 2009. Kiffin took the Vols to a 7-5 record after they had a losing season the year before, made Jonathan Crompton a decent quarterback and almost upset Alabama but had the game-winning field goal blocked.

He then bolted in the midnight hour when the USC job opened up and headed back to the West Coast in the offseason. While the USC thing did not quite go to plan, Kiffin boasted a winning record every year he was in Los Angeles, including a 10-2 record in 2011. However, Kiffin was fired after losing the first two games of the 2013 season.

 

But what that doesn’t tell you is that USC was going through major turmoil due to NCAA sanctions. Also, based on what USC has done since then or lack thereof, USC AD Pat Haden would have been better off keeping Kiffin.

When Kiffin was let go at USC (fair or unfair), he was definitely at a low point. He got a second chance when he was hired as offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama in 2014, where Kiffin currently coaches. He has certainly redeemed himself in his two full seasons at Alabama, where he has taken two less-than-ideal quarterback situations and helped lead the Tide to SEC crowns. This year, Alabama’s offense might be the best it has ever been under Nick Saban, and Kiffin is just playing with opponents.

Some Alabama fans might complain about his play-calling at times, but the dude is clearly an offensive genius. I think he has been treated unfairly in his coaching career, and I believe he is destined for success as a head coach again.

He’s going to end up being a head man again, and it might be after this season. Some still have doubts about Kiffin, but I would pull the trigger and hire him without question.

Surging Auburn and Georgia offensive line woes

It is ridiculous how much better Auburn has gotten over the course of the season. They started out shaky particularly on offense, but they’ve always had the talent and have been gaining momentum all year. Since losing to then No. 2 Clemson by five points, Auburn has gone 6-1 with notable wins over LSU, Arkansas and Ole Miss.

Their defense is one of the best units in the conference led by All-American caliber defensive end Carl Lawson, and their offense that has gotten back to its roots and has a strong running game led by Kerryon Johnson and the SEC’s leading rusher Kamryn Pettway. Sean White has come into his own at QB and has thrown for 1,511 yards and eight touchdowns with a 68.5 completion percentage and only two interceptions.

Auburn has a top-ten offense in college football and are No. 3 in rushing in the country. The Tigers are playing really well at this point in the season, and November is the month that matters. They won’t lose another game until their last game against Alabama. That might shape up to be the best test Alabama is going to get in the entire regular season.

Now, let’s flip over to Georgia. Their game against Florida in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on Saturday was torturous to watch. It was simply horrible.

Georgia has struggled this season and are currently 4-4. Fans of Georgia are just hoping the Dawgs can get to a bowl this year. That’s what it has come to. Many people are questioning and criticizing first-year head coach Kirby Smart and staff. I have said in the past that Georgia’s talent level is not where it needs to be. That much is obvious.

Now, I do not know whether Kirby Smart or anyone on his staff are fit to coach at UGA, but it is just too early to tell. The offensive line is honestly the worst I can remember in a long time in Athens. Georgia has a lot of stuff they struggle with and lack talent and depth at multiple positions.

Still, this Georgia team would be in good shape in an absolutely awful SEC East this season if they simply had a decent offensive line. That’s the truth of the matter. Football starts up front, and the struggles of Georgia have shown how true that is.

My CFB Playoff Top 4

The first College Football Playoff Rankings come out tomorrow. With that in mind, I am going to give my top four teams in college football and a team right on the edge.

  1. Alabama (8-0)
  2. Clemson (8-0)
  3. Michigan (8-0)
  4. Washington (8-0)

Team on the edge: Louisville (7-1)

That’s all, folks. Make sure to hit the site up on Twitter.

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One thought on “Reaction Monday: Lane Kiffin, Auburn surging, CFB Playoff rankings and more

  1. Pingback: Friday Column: Georgia’s bowl chances, Bama-LSU and SEC picks – Fallen Pylons

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