Tag Archive: Pat Haden


Leave it to Lane Kiffin to be fired from a job (Alabama offensive coordinator) that he already quit.

That’s Lame … Kiffin.kiffinsaban

As a result, Kiffin won’t be on the sideline tomorrow for the biggest college football game in America as the Crimson Tide defends its national title in a rematch with Clemson in the “Natty.” His failed USC successor Steve “Moonshine” Sarkisian will be calling the plays for Alabama.

Who will ESECPN’s Kirk Herbstreit gush about for three-plus hours without Kiffin huddling behind his little laminated card? If you took a gulp of beer every time Herbstreit heaped fawning praise on Kiffin during last year’s Natty, you would have been smashed by the second quarter.

It seems as if a little dark rain cloud follows Lane’s every step of his rocky career. With Kiffin, there is an abundance of football talent, and yet a gaping deficit in personal public relations.firelanekiffin

Consider that Kiffin was shown the door by the Oakland Raiders, publicly called a liar by the late Al Davis. He skipped out on the Tennessee Volunteers after one season, leaving the school, team and coach staff in the lurch. He was fired in the LAX parking lot at 2:30 am by then-USC Athletic Director Pat Haden when too much became too much.

And now by “mutual” consent with legendary Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, Kiffin will not be the offensive coordinator for the best team in the land in the biggest game of the year.

If you are keeping score at home, here are the raw numbers for Kiffin’s another-chance-after-another-chance career: Oakland, 5-15; Tennessee, 7-6; USC, 28-15 for a grand total of 40 wins and 36 losses. Give Kiffin credit: He has turned mediocrity into a lucrative (read millions) art form.

And now he is the incoming head coach of the … (drum roll) … Florida Atlantic University Owls (2016: 3-9) of Conference USA. You have to wonder if the administration at FAU is so desperate that it would reach out to such a tarnished commodity behind a laminated clipboard. How long will it take before Kiffin embarrasses FAU? Three years? Almost DailyBrett will take the “under.”

The above question implies that Kiffin will actually spend three years at FAU. Considering Kiffin’s track record, three years is most likely a stretch.kiffinbillboard

How does Lane Kiffin keeping failing only to be given new life time-and-time again? It’s akin to giving Anthony Weiner access to Twitter once again. The result is not going to be pretty.

It would be hard for Almost DailyBrett to make up all of these transgressions: Airport parking lot termination, locker room fights, banned reporters, deflated footballs, missed dinners, departed team buses, jersey changing incidents, recruiting decommits, the hoodie, the sun glasses, even the petty precluding of visiting teams merely walking through the LA Mausoleum before games.kiffinshades

When the Crimson Tide’s Nick Saban hired Kiffin as his offensive coordinator three years ago, didn’t you know the Great State of Alabama was not big enough to hold both of their legendary egos and related arrogance at the same time?

The public explanation for Kiffin’s latest dismissal is that he was not devoting the time and effort necessary for a team preparing for the Natty. Kiffin was also hiring his FAU staff and recruiting players for the Boca Raton-based school.kiffinhoodie

Something tells Almost DailyBrett that Kiffin was garnering way too much attention (i.e., Herbstreit on ESECPN, Gary Danielson on CBS) and taking too much credit away from Saban. If Alabama wins Monday, he will tie the immortal Paul “Bear” Bryant with a record six national championships.

Somebody needed to go, and it was the one who was already going.

What’s curious is after one former failed USC coach being dismissed as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, Saban is now relaying on another former failed USC coach.

If Steve Sarkisian learned anything from the legendary mistakes of Lane Kiffin, it’s good to humble and to allow the boss to receive the lion’s share of the Crimson Tide glory.

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/01/kiffin_is_as_kiffin_does.html

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/lane-kiffin-just-cant-stop-sabotaging-010217

http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/01/02/

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/lane-kiffin-florida-atlantic-fau-alabama-salary-contract-head-coach-hired-where-is-roster-recruiting-121216

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Atlantic_Owls_football

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/sec/2017/01/02/lane-kiffin-abruptly-out-alabamas-oc-steve-sarkisian-take-over/96081884/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/media-vultures-circling-over-kiffin/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/a-ball-inflation-needle-in-kiffins-coffin/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/uscs-vietnam/

 

The author of Almost DailyBrett was there in 2006, when Barry Lamar BALCO Bonds hit home run #715 to move past Babe Ruth.

By coincidence (other than being an unapologetic sports fan) he was there in 2007 when the same Barry Lamar BALCO Bonds clobbered #755 to eclipse Hank Aaron for the all-time, home-run title.

In both cases, it was a sad triumph of medical science over integrity and fair play.bonds

How come I still feel a little dirty having witnessed these epic moments from the stands of AT&T Park, but not really cheering? The reaction was similar to a Mardi Gras party without the beads. The fan response seemed as artificial as standing like cattle in a freezing pen waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve night. Pass the hand warmers and the flask.

Just as everyone, except for the hoodwinked jury, knew that O.J. took a knife to Nicole, we are all 1000 percent certain that Barry cheated by using roids — excuse me creamy and clear “flaxseed oil,” — to bulk up beyond any recognition. By the way, before anyone writes any nastygrams, Almost DailyBrett is no way equating O.J. horrific crime with Barry’s pharmaceutical disgrace other than to say, we are sure without any doubt they were both in the wrong.

We also can bet that Pete Rose bet on baseball. John Madden has repeatedly warned about the potential abusive influence of the gambling industry into professional and college sports (e.g., fixed games or fights). The NHL should tread lightly on the question of siting an expansion team in Sin City.

We also know the sordid tale of Lance Armstrong. Sorry Lance, it was not only about the bike. It was about lying, intimidating and cheating, when it came to doping and literally stealing Tour de France fortune and fame. You were a hero until you became a worldwide douchebag.

Then again, not all lying can be universally condemned as an obvious violation of Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative or what your mother always told you. As this particular blog has noted on more than one occasion, Jody Powell as Jimmy Carter’s press secretary, made the correct call in deliberately lying to protect the 1980 mission to rescue 52 hostages held in Iran. The lie protected the secrecy of the military action. Alas, the images of burning helicopters in the desert are still fresh today.

This preamble brings us to the question of Tom Brady, the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, an appealed $1.8 million, four-game fine/suspension and deflated footballs. Does this caper rise to a similar level of cheating akin to Barry Lamar BALCO Bonds, Pete Rose and/or Lance Armstrong, all 10s on the Hall of Shame Richter Scale?brady

Deflategate is a 5.

“Integrity of the Game”

The NFL particularly in the aftermath of getting it wrong in the Ray Rice domestic abuse elevator incident had to aggressively respond to the next “incident.’ To compensate the league came down hard on QB Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to safeguard the “Integrity of the Game.”

Yes rules are rules and they are meant to be followed, but does playing with slightly deflated footballs rise to the same level as taking roids to break an iconic record, betting on your own sport or pulverizing your wife or significant other?

As Almost DailyBrett has reported, deflating footballs to make them easier to throw and/or catch, is not new when it comes to professional or college football. Former USC head coach Lame Kiffin prior to being shown the door by school AD Pat Haden blamed a rogue student football manager for being singly responsible for the Trojans playing with deflated footballs in a 2012 game against Oregon. The student manager was booted off the team. Those darn lone ranger student football managers.

Truth be known, USC was deflating footballs (at least the starting QB as far back as the 1977 Rose Bowl Game). Certainly, other teams in both the college and pro ranks are just as guilty. Maybe, the NFL should follow the practice of the NHL and freeze the footballs before games? More realistically, the NFL should consider an inflation range allowing teams to decide what pressure works best for their respective offenses.

Jan 24, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Deflated footballs with Super Bowl XLIX logo at the NFL Experience at Phoenix Convention Center in advance of the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 24, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Deflated footballs with Super Bowl XLIX logo at the NFL Experience at Phoenix Convention Center in advance of the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One thing is certain when examining Deflategate: This transgression against everything decent in civilized society had zero impact on the outcome of the game in question as Tom Brady’s Patriots clobbered the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 to easily win the AFC championship. Deflategate … the latest “gate” … had zero to do with the outcome of that particular game.

The NFL responded by fining the Patriots and suspending Brady for four pre-season games, costing him $1.8 million.

Worse yet, the Patriots had to endure the hometown and national sports media for the two weeks before the Super Bowl about this molehill-into-a-mountain indiscretion.

That sounds like punishment enough.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/14/us/nfl-deflategate-brady-appeal/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/31/us/balco-fast-facts/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/a-ball-inflation-needle-in-kiffins-coffin/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/lying-to-the-new-york-times/

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bal-ray-rice-issues-statement-thanking-ravens-baltimore-apologizes-for-domesticviolence-incident-20150212-story.html#page=1

 

“When in doubt, declare victory.” — Oft heard political axiom in Sacramento.

For some reason, Jeff Long, chair of the College Football Playoff Committee, could not simply proclaim that his 12-member committee got it right: The four-best football teams in the country are in the long-awaited, first-ever January 1 playoff for the championship trophy.

In the face of persistent badgering by 1988 Alabama graduate Rece Davis of ESECPN, Long came across as defensive, almost apologetic and unsure. He inadvisably went down paths best left untrodden, and seemingly couldn’t wait for the public grilling to end.

ReceLong

Admittedly, the present University of Arkansas athletic director was operating on little, if no sleep. He and his committee members had a thankless job; shoehorn four major conference champions into two bowls, and leave one big-time conference champion out in the cold (e.g., Baylor).

Guess what? This problem will persist next year. Get used to it.

Here are some PR talking points for Chairman Long free of charge, courtesy of Almost DailyBrett:

“We had a tough job to do. We did our job. And we came up with exciting semifinal matchups involving the best four teams across the fruited plain (i.e., Alabama vs. Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, and Oregon vs. Florida State in the Rose Bowl). We are proud of our work, and we can hardly wait for January 1.”

Period. Finis. Endo Musico.

Far Better Than The BSC

Many, many moons ago, the conference champs were simply locked into the major bowls. If this scenario was still the case: Alabama would be in the Sugar Bowl; Oregon and Ohio State would be in the Rose Bowl; Florida State would be in the Orange Bowl; Baylor would be in the Fiesta Bowl … and TCU would still be moaning and complaining.

How would one determine the national champion? The polls? The computers? ESECPN?

The BSC … err BCS (Bowl Championship Series) … was devised to improve upon the automatic bowl lock-ups, producing supposedly a matchup of the best two teams in the country.

If that was still the case, Alabama would be playing Oregon and undefeated Florida State would be left out … or would they?

Wait a minute would the BSC exclude the defending national champions, the winner of 29 straight games and counting? Of course not.

Bye-bye, Oregon.

The Tri-Lateral Commission for Dominance by the Eastern Time Zone (TLCDETZ) and ESECPN would not allow a team located in a sparsely populated Western state in America’s cul-de-sac (e.g., Pacific Northwest) to throw a monkey wrench into a classic matchup between SEC-champion Alabama and pseudo-SEC team, Florida State.

You can be sure that Davis (Alabama), Jesse Palmer (Florida), David Pollack (Georgia) and Danny Kanell (Florida State) would not allow that to happen. Ditto for Kirk Herbstreit (Ohio State), Joey Galloway (Ohio State), Lee Corso (Florida State), Desmond Howard (Michigan), Lou Holtz (Kent State) or Mark May (Pitt).

Did you note the time zone for these gents’ alma maters? The Eastern Time Zone.

It must really bum them out that Oregon’s Marcus Mariota is going to win the Heisman. Guess, there really must be life west of the Hudson.

A Four-Team Playoff for the Ages

The committee made the ill-fated decision that Chairman Long was going to be its one-and-only spokesperson.

Don’t get me wrong, Long comes across as a nice competent guy, but does not have the smoothness, confidence and gravitas to serve as an effective spokesman.condi

The committee could have turned to Stanford Provost Condoleezza Rice, who earlier served as national security advisor and secretary of state for two administrations or USC Athletic Director and Rhodes Scholar Pat Haden to carry the PR ball.

Something tells me that neither Rice nor Haden would have publicly punted the ball in the face of the fierce ESECPN verbal pass rush.

haden

Let’s face it: No system is perfect, but this one is easily better than any that has come before or any other (e.g., an eight-team playoff; there are not eight great teams … and number nine would be whining).

This is where the When in doubt, declare victory mantra works.

Regardless of the questions from the Pharisees at ESECPN, a confident spokesperson (e.g., Rice or Haden) keeps coming back to how this system is easily the best, far better than anything that preceded it, and best of all, the top four teams in the land are going to get it on.

Let’s tee it up on New Year’s Day.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/

http://www.collegefootballplayoff.com/selection-committee

http://espnmediazone.com/us/bios/davis_rece/

 

 

What makes Alabama and Auburn, “football schools”?

ironbowl

And conversely, what makes Duke and North Carolina, “basketball schools”?

It seems that the term, “football school,” has been around since the earth cooled. The ghosts of John McKay, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Darrell Royal, Bear Bryant, Joe Paterno, Bud Wilkinson and others would certainly agree from their respective resting places in Heaven and Hell.

Ditto for the words, “basketball school,” may also have been carved into the Rosetta Stone to commemorate “The Wizard of Westwood” John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, “Phog” Allen and Jim Valvano.

Does anyone in the State of Alabama let alone anywhere else, besides Sir Charles Barkley, really care about the basketball rivalry between Alabama and Auburn?

Does anyone in the State of North Carolina let alone anywhere else really care about the football rivalry between Duke and North Carolina?

Ask virtually anyone in Alabama what happened in the last second of the 2013 Iron Bowl and a huge smile or a deep sigh will emerge reflecting the religious fervor from both War Eagle and Roll Tide surrounding this game. They already know what they will be doing for nearly four hours on a late November night later this year.

michaelduke

Ask virtually anyone along the eight miles of Tobacco Road separating Duke and UNC and beyond what they are doing this coming Saturday night and they will most likely think the question is rhetorical: It’s North Carolina vs. Duke baby, and the “Cameron Crazies” are ready to go. You can be sure that ESPN’s Dukie Vitale will be there as well.

When one starts listing football schools which institutions immediately come to mind (moving from God’s time zone to the west)?

How about Penn State? Yep. Ohio State and Michigan? Certainly. Notre Dame? Must we? Alabama and Auburn? Definitely. Texas and Texas A&M? Ya better, ya hear. Oklahoma and Nebraska? Yes sir. USC? Fight On! Oregon? Particularly in the last two-plus decades.

When one starts listing basketball schools which institutions come to mind (again moving from God’s sacred Eastern Time Zone to points out west)?

Syracuse? Does the name, Jim Boeheim, ring a bell? North Carolina and Duke? No doubt. Kentucky and Louisville? Yessum. Indiana? Ever see the movie, Hoosiers or read Season on the Brink? Kansas? Dorothy would pass up the Emerald City to check out a game in Allen Fieldhouse. And of course, Arizona.

During the course of a KNBR (San Francisco) radio interview a few years ago, former University of Arizona basketball star Tom Tolbert asked NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young if Arizona would ever go to the Rose Bowl. Young without missing a beat told Tolbert to forget it because “Arizona is a basketball school.”

Even though there are obvious exceptions to every rule, Almost DailyBrett has to conclude that basketball schools are really not very good at football, and football schools conversely are really not proficient in round ball.

Do you remember Indiana’s last Rose Bowl? O.J. Simpson was carrying the ball for the other team.

Can you list the number of NCAA titles in Men’s basketball for USC (We remember you, Cheryl Miller)? That would be … none.

Can you list the number of Rose Bowls for Arizona? You already know the answer to that one.

As a Pac-12 kind of guy, let’s focus on USC, the football school, and Arizona, the basketball school. What makes the two so dominant in one sport and so mediocre (being kind here) in the other?

One could immediately point to tradition, and legendary coaches. USC is Howard Jones, John McKay and Pete Carroll. USC is the LA Coliseum. Heisman Trophies, Song Girls, Traveler, Conquest, Rose Bowls and National Championships. Steve Sarkisian has traded in a lumbering Ford F-150 (University of Washington) for a Lamborghini (USC). As a former football manager at Troy way back in the Gerald Ford/Jimmy Carter years, I can attest everything is football at USC.

carrollusc

In turn basketball was the near-empty L.A. Sports Arena, one of the most dreary and desultory sports experiences in the history of the planet. USC had no home court advantage for literally decades. Wooden was packing them in at Pauley Pavilion. The USC students really wouldn’t even walk a few blocks to the Sports Arena, but would make the same trek in droves to the LA Coliseum.

Today, USC plays in the beautiful Galen Center and no one friggin’ cares. The team is mired in last place in the Pac-12, trailing even the dreadful WSU Cougars. AD Pat Haden (e.g., a football star) hired Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield and the effort is a never-ending work in progress.

For USC fans, the goal every year is to win the Pac-12 and contest for the national championship, if not outright win the glass football. When it comes to basketball…Do USC fans really care? The answer is, not really.

Quick name a great Arizona quarterback since the Wildcats joined the now-Pac-12 conference in 1978?

How about a legendary Arizona football coach?

Sorry “Bear Down” disciples, Frank Kush coached for ASU. Even though Rich Rodriguez does not want to hear this: Arizona is a study of gridiron mediocrity. Even early erector-set Arizona Stadium makes one’s blood head north. This is NOT a must do college football experience.

lute

Now let’s talk McKale Center. Let’s remember Lute and Bobbie Olson. Let’s contemplate the 1997 NCAA title. Let’s dwell on the likes of Richard Jefferson, Miles Simon, Channing Frye, Salim and Damon Stoudamire, Luke Walton (UCLA Bill’s son) etc. Let’s visualize Arizona getting to the Final Four again this year (if they can make their free throws) with the likes of Aaron Gordon, Nick Johnson, Kaleb Tarczewski, T.J. McConnell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Coach Sean Miller has not made AzCat faithful forget Lute, but he is on the verge of starting a new Arizona dynasty in round ball.

Some things change, but more times than not, they stay the same. And when they change, it takes a long time. That certainly is the case for USC basketball and Arizona football.

A football school is a football school and a basketball school is a basketball school.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Bowl

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolina%E2%80%93Duke_rivalry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USC_Trojans_football

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_Wildcats_men%27s_basketball

“I’m sorry if my message got misconstrued, but it really was in the best interest of the young men. Hindsight’s 20-20. I probably should have said it was an interview. Semantics are semantics.” – New USC Football Coach Steve Sarkisian

“Misconstrued”?

“Semantics are Semantics”?

How about, to be charitable, telling a big fib?

Sorry Sark, you will never totally restore your reputation for integrity.

sarkuw

Media types and the general public will always have an extra degree of skepticism whenever they interact with you. There is no way to change this inescapable conclusion.

Almost DailyBrett has commented before about Jody Powell’s self-proclaimed, “Right to Lie.”

Powell, former press secretary to President Jimmy Carter, was placed into a lie-or-jeopardize American lives dilemma, when he was asked point-blank in 1980 about possible rescue mission for 52 American diplomats trapped in Iran.

He knew the score. He protected the (ultimately failed) mission. He lied and deceived. He really had no choice.

Larry Speakes, former press secretary to President Ronald Reagan, was told to “knock down” rumors about a 1983 American invasion of Grenada. He did. The GI’s landed the following morning. An internally misled and peeved Speakes was charged with lying.

In both cases, the press secretary must interact with the White House Press Corps on a daily basis. A “no comment” response would be interpreted as tantamount to confirmation. The press secretary does not have the authority, regardless of her or his conscience and upbringing, to jeopardize American lives.

jodypowellwhitehouse

Power lied. Speakes lied without knowing it, and was charged with…lying.

Looking back to this previous weekend, former Washington, now USC Coach Sarkisian could have easily avoided being put into a situation in which he had to tell a big white lie.

Until this past Monday, Sarkisian was the head football coach for the University of Washington. Prior to his arrival in Seattle, he was a high-profile assistant coach for Pete Carroll’s USC Trojans.

And naturally because of his relative success (e.g., never beat Oregon) during his five years with Udub and his USC pedigree, he was a natural for the short list of potential new coaches at Troy.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden flew this past Sunday to Seattle to interview Sarkisian. Trust me; he was not heading to the Northwest to bask in the freezing weather. Ultimately, the interview went well. There were still “I’s” to dot and “T’s” to cross as Haden returned to SoCal.

Sarkisian still in his Udub head coach capacity had a scheduled Monday morning interview with Seattle KJR (AM-590), the flagship station for Husky football. He knew that he was going to be asked about the swirling rumors that he had been interviewed by Haden for the SC job.

What were his personal public relations and reputation management options (Keep in mind, none of them were perfect)?

Sark’s options were to go ahead with the previously scheduled radio talk and mischaracterize his meeting with Haden as a nice chat, and not an interview. Keep in mind, the majority of the UW Athletic Department administrators and his team was presumably listening to the interview.

The other option was to postpone the interview, thus maintaining his credibility. This option requires POing the media, particularly the chaps at KJR Sports Radio, and starting rumors as to why he was not available.

As we all know now, Sark went forward with the Monday morning interview and his credibility took a huge hit just hours later when USC announced he was Troy’s new head coach.

sarkusc

“I just felt like at the time, nowhere near finalizing the deal, that it wasn’t the right thing to say,” Sarkisian said. “I didn’t either want to put (USC or UW players) in a situation of uncertainty.”

“Nowhere near finalizing the deal?”

Sark, you met with Pat Haden on Sunday, and USC announced your hiring on Monday afternoon. When you are in a hole, stop digging.

In football, there are times when it is best to punt than being stopped short of the first-down markers.

This was a time when Sark personally should have punted. Postpone the interview. Let the rumors fly. Keep your reputation intact. And later, offer an exclusive post-USC hiring interview exclusive for KJR. Do you really think the torqued-off station would decline that opportunity?

They would have jumped at it.

Presidential press secretaries have the right to lie (and this is debatable) to protect American lives. The same latitude does not apply to Semantics-are-Semantics football coaches.

http://seattletimes.com/html/huskyfootball/2022386995_sarkisian04xml.html

http://sportspressnw.com/2171412/2013/sark-the-liar-my-message-got-misconstrued

http://www.sportsradiokjr.com/main.html

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-1203-usc-sarkisian-20131203,0,7317089,full.story#axzz2mdDVswIi

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20131202/steve-sarkisian-usc-head-coach-washington/?xid=ob_sisports

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

“When you’re winning, no one can hurt you; when you’re losing, no one can help you.” – Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster John Madden

Remember (former Vice President) Dan Quayle?

How about (former Attorney General) Ed Meese?

And (former Defense Secretary) John Tower?

And (former White House chief of staff) John Sununu?

And of course, (former NYC mayoral candidate/personal photographer) Anthony Weiner?

This brings us to present-tense USC coach Lane Kiffin.

What do they all have in common?kiffinhoodie

The answer is the media vultures were out for all of them at one time or another. In the end, the vultures picked (or are picking) their bodies to death.

As the press director of the Deukmejian Campaign Committee, I watched with delight and awe as the media took apart our 1982 opponent for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, former California Lt. Governor Mike Curb.

There was not a book to be seen in Curb’s palatial house, gleefully noted the Los Angeles Times.

Curb had not registered to vote (a 10-minute exercise) for Ronald Reagan (or anyone else) in 1966 and 1970 because he was “too busy” for 17 years with his record company business. Thank you LA Herald-Examiner and Valley News and Green Sheet.

The media vultures were circling over Curb’s dying candidacy. It was time for him to go. He was history. He was toast.

It was “vulture journalism” at its best or at its worst, depending on your point of view. The media had made up its collective mind: Curb was not going to be Governor of California.

“No one’s more miserable than myself. So it’s our job to get it fixed.” – Kiffin quoted this week in the Los Angeles Times deftly moving from the first-person singular to the first-person plural.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden earlier this year described his embattled head football coach as the “anti-Teflon.” Instead of Teflon, Kiffin is Mr. Velcro…everything and anything sticks to him.

haden

Did the Trojans just hold a “players-only” meeting? Who would normally care? These are not normal times. Apparently, no one told Lane Kiffin. Is he out of touch? The media cares.

When asked in the wake of USC’s home field loss last Saturday night to the Pullman Cougars, whether Cody Kessler or Max Vittek was going to be his QB starter this coming Saturday against Boston College, Kiffin said he didn’t know.

You don’t know? USC is paying you $2.4 million annually, and you don’t know…

Besides being the anti-Reagan, Kiffin is also the anti-Chip Kelly the anti-Jim Harbaugh, and most of all, the anti-Pete Carroll.

Everyone is excited about whether Chip’s fast-paced, Michael Vick running the ball Oregon-style offense will work on a week-in, week-out basis in the NFL. Maybe.

Everyone is salivating over the Sunday night matchup between Harbaugh’s 49ers and Carroll’s Seahawks. Harbaugh’s and Carroll’s paths have crossed before (e.g., “What’s Your Deal? What’s your Deal!!!), which adds to the intrigue.

Do you think USC fans would take Carroll back? In a heartbeat. Would they even accept former Stanford coach, Harbaugh? Deep down you know they would.

Just win, Baby!

Even though the hiring of Carroll was not embraced by Trojan alums, they came to adore him. And why not?

He came across as a great guy with a penchant for winning big time.

There are some who contend that anyone can win at USC. Why not? There are more high school and junior college football studs within a 30-mile radius of the LA Mausoleum than there are within a 300-mile radius of Pullman…And yet…Ted Tollner, Larry Smith, Paul Hackett and now, Kiffin couldn’t get it done at Troy.

Carroll was that magical guy with a special knack. Combine Carroll’s coaching persona and genius with the geographic advantages, wealth and tradition of USC, and the result was orgasmic. USC was back and it dominated the Pac-10…seven straight titles…something that will never happen again.

In contrast, USC alums were giddy when Kiffin was hired away from Tennessee after his limp, low-T 7-6 record in Knoxville. No one is cheering now.

firelanekiffin

The biggest mystery is why did three-storied football programs: the Silver-and-Black Oakland Raiders (5-15), the Rocky Top Tennessee Volunteers (7-6) and now the Cardinal and Gold USC Trojans (27-15) hand the keys to their respective Ferraris only to achieve exploding gas tank Pinto results (39-36)? How do you spell mediocrity? K-I-F-F-I-N.

The latest Kiffin tenure was always a media relations train-wreck going someplace to happen.

Was this former USC Athletic Director’s (the guy who hired Kiffin) Mike Garrett’s parting gift to Haden?

Almost DailyBrett can rightfully be accused of piling onto Lane Kiffin.  After all, this is my third blog as a USC grad on this subject. I plead guilty.

Can effective public relations counsel help Kiffin withstand the media vultures at this point in time? Will simply winning rescue Kiffin from his seemingly inevitable fate? Possibly.

Having said that, one cannot discount the most recent losses to rivals UCLA, Notre Dame and more to the point, embarrassing debacles to Georgia Tech (Sun Bowl) and Wazzu…the latter two should not even be competitive against USC.

One suspects the upcoming trips to ASU and Notre Dame will not be pretty. Ditto for the home games against Stanford and UCLA. Kiffin should thank Darwin that Washington and (gulp) Oregon are not on the schedule this year.

Is Haden quietly going over a list of potential replacements? You know for certain the thought has crossed his mind, more than once or twice…

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1770356-usc-football-top-recruits-turning-on-lane-kiffin?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=college-football

http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20130910/marqise-lee-contradicts-lane-kiffin-on-players-only-meeting

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2013/09/08/analysis-mack-brown-texas-lane-kiffin-southern-california-coaches-hot-seat/2782321/

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-0912-usc-football-20130912,0,473654.story#axzz2ehZMTeBN

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/uscs-vietnam/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/a-ball-inflation-needle-in-kiffins-coffin/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeS3VeluAmg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lane_Kiffin

 

200px-MikeRiley

Hanukkah in Seattle?

New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles? Ditto for Austin, College Station and Lubbock?

Or maybe it is the equivalent of a New Year’s Day hangover in Corvallis and Seattle with the Oregon Ducks playing in the Rose Bowl?

Isaac and Big Suke, the talking heads on Portland’s “The Fan” (1080 AM) were discussing Tuesday how Oregon State Beaver fans were anticipating the equivalent of Christmas Eve with the NCAA bestowing gifts to be opened in the form of crippling sanctions on the University of Oregon football program.

There were some stocking stuffers indeed, but not what were prayed for in Corvallis, Seattle and other exotic locales. There are a few sore wrists in Eugene…but nothing more.

What do you get when you cross a Washington Husky with a ground-hog? Six more weeks of NCAA probation.

Will Husky fans try to reverse this joke, substituting an Oregon Duck with a ground-hog? Probably. Deep down they know that the rampant “loss of institutional” control under former Washington Coach Don James doesn’t even come close to the relatively minor offenses committed by Oregon.

Now that Washington’s dreams of crippling punishment against Oregon have been dashed, the pressure is on the Huskies to end Oregon’s unprecedented nine-game winning streak over the Dawgs will intensify. Circle October 12 in Husky Stadium on your calendar.

For those of you scoring at home, Oregon received probation of three-years, a loss of one scholarship per year for the same time period, an 18-month “show cause” penalty against former Head Coach Chip Kelly (who will serve out his sentence in the NFL) and a reduction of paid recruiting visits from 56 to 37 in the next two years.

No bowl ban.

The penalties arise as a result of a $25,000 payment to Willie Lyles and his Texas-oriented “recruiting service provider” firm.

Yahoo Sports, which broke the story two years ago, clearly wanted blood to flow. They still want blood to flow, particularly from Chip Kelly, as evidenced from today’s coverage. Sorry to disappoint you, sorry indeed.

What is also causing the crucify Oregon crowd to gnash their collective teeth is the massive coverage of New England Pats tight end Aaron Hernandez being charged with murder in the same news cycle. Sorry Yahoo Sports, but an East Coast murder investigation trumps a West Coast recruiting service snafu any day of the week. In fact, God’s time zone transgressions (e.g., EDT or EST) beat anything on the Left Coast virtually any time.

They say that a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Did the institutional model of arbitrariness and capriciousness (a.k.a. NCAA) actually get it right for a change? Is that different from a slap on the wrist as interpreted by ESPN’s Joe Schad and Brock Huard (former Udub quarterback).

Consider there are no NCAA regulations governing recruiting services. Cal, Tennessee and others used the services of Willie Lyles. Where are the sanctions against Cal and Tennessee, both Autzen Stadium visitors this season?

In direct contrast with USC’s former AD Mike Garrett, who fought the NCAA tooth and nail, Oregon cooperated with the institutional giant from Indianapolis, Indiana, even proposing sanctions and asking for a summary disposition, basically a plea bargain. To USC’s credit, new AD Pat Haden demonstrated how honey as opposed to vinegar wins more friends than enemies, including the NCAA.

Even though I have no evidence to back this up, one must wonder how it would look if Oregon was slapped with a bowl ban for a $25,000 payment to Willie Lyles with NCAA boss Mark Emmert having previously served as the President of…you guessed it…The University of Washington.

Finally, the key player in Le Affaire Lyles was Texas five-star stud Lache Seastrunk. He was buried on the Oregon running back depth-chart, transferred to Baylor in Texas, and never played a down for Oregon.

Where is the benefit to Oregon?

This is a case of so many, waiting way too long for so little.

Has the NCAA shed its record of inconsistency? No.

Has the ground shifted in terms of Oregon Football? You bet ya.

The program that was at best ignored for decades is today respected, feared and in some cases hated.

There is a love-hate relationship with Oregon, its fancy uniforms, incredible digs and Uncle Phil and his Nike money too.

To the good folks in Corvallis, Seattle and elsewhere, there is more to come from Eugene, starting August 31.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9424556/oregon-ducks-put-probation-ncaa-lose-scholarship

http://www.registerguard.com/rg/news/30077980-76/oregon-ncaa-recruiting-lyles-kelly.html.csp

http://www.oregonlive.com/

http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/john_canzano/index.ssf/2013/06/canzano_blog_ncaa_was_as_tired.html#incart_big-photo

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaaf–chip-kelly-is-latest-successful-coach-to-skate-free-of-ncaa-harm-174023192.html

http://www.1080thefan.com/pages/12623116.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_James_%28American_football%29

The following is an open letter from a former Trojan football manager and USC alum (Broadcasting Journalism ’78) to Athletic Director Pat Haden concerning the lack of a “Kiffin Factor” exit strategy.

Dear Pat:

It’s time.

In fact, it’s past time.

The media has decided it’s time for a Lane Kiffin exit strategy.

The alumni have decided it’s time for Kiffin to pack his laminated play sheet, hoodie and sun glasses.

kiffinshades

Kiffin has reportedly “lost” the USC locker room. A team of 19-22 year olds knows it’s time for Kiffin to go.

Seventy-six percent of Los Angeles Times readers have decided it’s time for Kiffin leave the building. Lance Armstrong and Charlie Sheen are more popular.

And even though you do not want the media and other stakeholders to set the agenda, you know deep down inside the ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate are right.

They will continue to pound the jungle drums until you do the right thing. How much more can you stand? The turnovers, recruiting decommits, the hoodie, sun glasses, locker room fights, banned reporters, deflated footballs, missed dinners, jersey changing incidents, even the petty precluding of visiting teams merely walking through the LA Mausoleum before games.

The latter really upset Oregon’s mojo as the visiting Ducks put up a record 62 points on USC’s defense, amassing 730 total yards, and 321 yards by Kenjon Barner alone.

To be fair to Lane Kiffin, he is a direct descendant of the storied football family of patriarch, Monte Kiffin. And commando Paris Hilton is an heir to the Hilton Empire.

As a Rhodes Scholar you are correct in your historical metaphor, labeling the “Kid Coach” as described by Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, as the anti-Reagan. Instead of Teflon, everything is Velcro with Lane Kiffin…every transgression – real or imagined – sticks to him, further bringing down USC’s reputation and brand with each and every new incident.

Only you can stop the cardinal-and-gold bleeding.

kiffinfire

As a fellow mackerel snapper and USC alumnus, I have followed your career with great interest. I even had the privilege to briefly meet you when I was serving as Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary when you were teaming with future Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan on venture capital deals.

My admiration stretches back to your C.I.F. championship days as the quarterback for Bishop Amat High School, when I was a mere football manager at nearby St. Francis High School. Growing up, I followed your career as Troy’s starting QB, particularly when you threw that clutch two-point conversion to Shelton Diggs as the clock was running out in the Rose Bowl. I was excited when you took over from Mike Garrett, the guy who hired Kiffin.

You did the right thing in terminating Mr. Walking Heart Attack, Kevin O’Neill, as Troy’s basketball coach. You did the right thing in moving on in the face of NCAA penalties. You did the right thing by allowing Monte Kiffin to “resign.” Now the time has come to do the same with sonny boy.

kiffinbillboard

Why do so many absolutely despise your 37-year-old coach? He is persona non grata in Oakland, Knoxville and now in Los Angeles. Can Pyongyang be far behind?

Think of it in Churchillian-prose: Never in recorded history has someone risen so fast, who has accomplished so little, and pissed off so many. Let’s see, 5-15 with the Oakland Raiders, 7-6 at Tennessee and now 25-13 at USC including taking a No. 1 ranked team to … the Sun Bowl.

Overall, Kiffin is 37-34 in his storied career. No one is going to have a four-hour erection, contemplating that record of mediocrity.

These numbers certainly don’t conjure up memories of Howard Jones, John McKay, John Robinson or Pete Carroll…more like Ted Tollner, Larry Smith and Paul Hackett.

Don’t you wish someone, such as Mark Helfrich, Steve Sarkisian, Mike Riley or David Shaw…first-rate people with first-rate football minds…was coaching your team?

Last fall, you stated that Lane was your coach, 150 percent.

Recently, you reduced your support to 137.5 percent.

The way I see it, you only have 38 more percent to go.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8893172/lane-kiffin-takes-blame-usc-trojans-2012-season-college-football

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-pat-haden-usc-20130122,0,2961779.story

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jan/01/sports/la-sp-plaschke-usc-20130101

“As I read the decision by the NCAA, I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy. They wish they all were Trojans.” – Former USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett

“… We’ve cooperated fully.” – Oregon Football Coach Chip Kelly

“Part of the NCAA’s problem here is fairness and consistency, never an organizational strong suit.” – ESPN Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller.

How come the Founding Fathers understood the temptation and eventual tyranny that comes from absolute power being given to one omnipresent body with virtual dictatorial control?

They enshrined in the nation’s Constitution the doctrine of  “Separation of Powers” between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. I know this policy to be true because I read all about it in civics class back in elementary school. We can also watch it in action as the nation is poised to go off the “fiscal cliff.”

powers

Where we don’t see a similar separation of powers is the NCAA or the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Instead, the process appears to be arbitrary and capricious (words that make lawyers happy).

How long will a process take? A week? Two years? Four years? Who knows?

If one university is permitted to go through the summary disposition process (e.g., Tennessee) involving its dealings with recruiting “mentor” Willie Lyles, shouldn’t another university (e.g., Oregon) be permitted to go through the same process involving the same Willie Lyles? That makes sense, except that is not the case.

Former USC Athletic Director (and Heisman Trophy winner) Mike Garrett pursued a course of confrontation with the NCAA. The result was four years of probation, a two-year bowl ban, and a drastic reduction of scholarships.

Conversely, Oregon has chosen a path of accommodation with the NCAA, one subsequently advocated by new USC Athletic Director Pat Haden for his school. And yet, after two-long years, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions (COI) wants to hold a hearing to drag Oregon figuratively through the burning coals.

ESPN blogger Ted Miller wrote recently, “It’s possible that the COI just wants to talk.” And talk they will in February or April or June or August. Heck, why not all of them?

As a resident Duckologist and super Oregon fan and informal commentator for a generation, I am frequently asked what will happen to the Ducks before the NCAA because of Le Affaire de Lyles (e.g., $25,000 payment to Lyles allegedly to recruit a player, Lache Seastrunk, who was buried in the Oregon depth chart and never played a down for the Ducks).

I am also asked if Chip Kelly with a record of 45-7 will bolt for the NFL (there are jobs galore open today) purely because of the NCAA and Willie Lyles. The insinuation is that Pete Carroll left USC for the Seattle Seahawks because of the NCAA, so why shouldn’t Kelly do the same?

My answer to both questions is HIIK…Hell If I Know.

And that is the point. Even if you look to dysfunctional Washington, D.C., you can reasonably expect a Democratic White House to behave in a certain way. You can anticipate the Democratic Senate to go one way and the Republican House of Representatives to go the other. The Supreme Court with its 5-4 conservative majority more times than not will come down in the predictable fashion.

The NCAA and predictable fashion are oxymorons. The NCAA almost wiped out the economy of State College, Pennsylvania. What will it do to Oregon? Yes, I fully understand the difference between Jerry Sandusky and Lyles, but I still see no consistency of deliberation and enforcement…what the lawyers like to call, precedent or precedence.

emmert

What I do see is NCAA President, Dr. Mark A. Emmert, sitting in judgment over the University of Oregon. Emmert was the president of the University of Washington for six years and received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the same school that is the most intense rival (putting it mildly) of the University of Oregon.

 

He should recuse himself from this process.

In the final analysis, I am hoping for the best from the NCAA and fearing the worst. Something tells me to anticipate the latter. That will make the folks in Seattle and Corvallis real happy…until it is their respective turns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers_under_the_United_States_Constitution

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaaf–oregon–ncaa-reach-impasse-in-football-investigation-215913743.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/pac12/2012/12/21/oregon-ducks-chip-kelly-ncaa-investigation-recruiting-services/1783763/

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/21/sports/la-sp-usc-garrett-haden-20100721

http://bleacherreport.com/tb/d9cHT?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=oregon-ducks-football

http://espn.go.com/blog/pac12/post/_/id/51448/oregon-fans-should-be-worried-and-angry

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8764076/oregon-ducks-ncaa-hearing-scout-willie-lyles-according-source

http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/ncaa/ncaa+president/mark+emmert+biography

“When you’re winning, no one can hurt you…

… and when you’re losing, no one can help you.” – Former Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster John Madden

A rogue student manager has been deflating footballs at USC.

The Pac-12 reprimanded and fined USC for the practice.

And according to Head Coach Lane Kiffin, the (now fired) student manager was acting as a lone ranger, even though footballs are easier to throw when they are slightly deflated.

lamekiffin

How do I know this?

I was a student manager at USC during the 1976 and 1977 seasons. Even more precisely, I was the student manager working with the offensive coordinator at the time, Paul Hackett, the quarterbacks (e.g., Vince Evans, Rob Hertel and Paul McDonald) and wide receivers (e.g., Shelton Diggs, Randy Simmrin).

For each game, I was responsible for getting the USC football into the game when the Trojans were on offense. That meant following the line of scrimmage, carrying at least two footballs, for the better part of three-plus hours.

During the Rose Bowl played on January 1, 1977 against Michigan, our quarterback, Vince Evans, kept a ball-inflation needle in his sock. The needle was not used to inflate footballs, but for the opposite reason.

The referee and other officials kept throwing the under-inflated balls to me and demanding an inflated ball. Vince, in turn, kept on deflating the balls. This put me in a classic Catch 22.

When I told Vince about the officials tossing the underinflated balls out of the game, he responded with an imperative. I think it was something like, “Duck you, Kevin!”

We managed to win the game over Michigan, 14-6, and finished #2 behind Tony Dorsett and the Pitt Panthers for the national title. The incident with the ball-pump needle went into the DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) of my brain and remained there…until this week.

How serious is an underinflated football on a bending-the-rules scale of 1-10? How about a “five”? Yes, it may be easier to throw a football and that certainly is a factor for USC with a great passing quarterback, Matt Barkley, and all-world receivers. Conversely, one would think it would hurt the performance of the punter and field-goal/extra point kicker. USC punted only once last Saturday against Oregon.

My problem with this story is why would a 19-20-21-year-old student manager be deflating footballs without anyone else on the football team (e.g., coach and/or player) knowing anything about it?  This one doesn’t pass the giggle test.

And was it the (scapegoat?) manager that was deflating the balls or maybe a player with a ball-pump needle in his sock? It’s happened before.

What is more germane about this story is how it relates to Kiffin. Let’s face it. This guy is an Oakland-Knoxville-Los Angeles public relations disaster zone always waiting for the next installment. When you open up the dictionary looking up the word, “arrogance,” Kiffin’s mug shot will most likely jump out of the page.

His predecessor, Pete Carroll, was Mr. Public Relations. Pete was everyone’s pal. He was a player’s coach. He was a good interview. He was the face of USC football. Heck, he even risked his life night-after-night, driving into the worst parts of LA to give youths a third option besides jail and death.

Have you ever heard about Kiffin giving back? Opposing teams aren’t even allowed to walk through the LA Coliseum the day before games with the Trojans.

The marauding student manager story follows the quick and painful end of USC’s over-inflated dream of playing in the BCS national championship. The team has lost two straight, surrendered 101 points in the process, and is looking at the prospects of playing in the…Holiday Bowl.

Besides generating controversy du-jour during his relatively brief stays with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and now USC, Kiffin has consistently parlayed Viagra expectations into Low-T results, 43-37 overall.

What does the fired student manager, underinflated football-gate mean to squeaky clean, play-by-the-book USC Athletic Director Pat Haden? If this was an isolated incident in the nation’s second largest media market, it most likely would be noted and quickly forgotten.

But with USC coming off the third most severe set of NCAA penalties (exceeded only by Penn State and SMU) and considering Kiffin’s repeated bouts with controversy, this may be another small nail (or ball-pump needle) in Kiffin’s coffin.

Haden must know that someday, sooner or later, he will have to terminate Kiffin and maybe even spend literally millions to buy out his contract. Sometimes acknowledging mistakes of your predecessor (e.g., Mike Garrett) is costly. You sure can buy a treasure trove of ball-inflation pins, even with millions of inflated dollars.

Editor’s Note: As mentioned, I managed the USC football team for two seasons, earning a Tommy Trojan statue for my service. I have a Rose Bowl ring and watch, and graduated from Troy with my undergraduate degree in broadcasting journalism. I also managed the football team at the University of Oregon. I am a 23-year season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium and a member of the Duck Athletic Fund. I received my master’s degree from, and presently teach public relations at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/ncf/story/_/id/8608359/usc-coach-lane-kiffin-says-manager-deflating-footballs-acted-alone

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usc-football-lane-kiffin-no-comment-delated-footballs-20121108,0,5616530.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usc-football-culture-dufresne20121108,0,822130.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-1109-plaschke-usc-footballs-20121109,0,6907619.column

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