ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd spent nearly seven minutes on his nationally syndicated show Thursday afternoon discussing current Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and both comparing him to USC head coach Lane Kiffin and questioning why he would be up for the Texas job, which is not open as of press time.
Below is the segment from Cowherd’s program with his words in block quotes. Be aware that it is broken down into multiple sections.
“For whatever reasons, and you can have your own reasons, I like Lane Kiffin. I think he’s in some trouble at USC, but I like him. I think he does a lot of things right, but you don’t. The public doesn’t. We’re not going to argue over that. Clearly you don’t, you’re not into him, the media is tough on him – blah, blah, blah. So you have already decided, ‘That guy, how does he get a job that good?’ That’s all I’ve heard for three years. ‘How does Lane Kiffin…what did he do to earn a job that good?’”
» After serving as an offensive coordinator for just two seasons, Kiffin was hired by the Oakland Raiders in 2007 and led the team to a 4-12 record. He was fired by owner Al Davis following a huge public spat that included Davis saying he warned Kiffin that his conduct was detrimental to the team. Upon his firing, which included a lawsuit from Kiffin, Davis called Kiffin a “disgrace to the organization.”
» Kiffin was hired in 2009 by Tennessee and went 7-6, losing his bowl game that year by 23 points. While failing to meet expectations with the Vols, he incorrectly but publicly accused another head coach – Florida’s Urban Meyer – of recruiting violations when none occurred. He was publicly reprimanded by the Southeastern Conference. Kiffin also reportedly told a recruit, Alshon Jeffrey, that if he went to South Carolina “he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life.” Jeffrey committed to the Gamecocks and now plays wide receiver for the Chicago Bears.
» Kiffin left UT after one year, suddenly departing for USC and nearly causing a riot on the campus. There were also numerous allegations regarding Kiffin during his time at Tennessee including improper uses of hostesses, questions about a car crash and potential cover-ups, and the NCAA probing his recruiting practices.
“OK, alright. So let me ask you this: Why doesn’t everybody say the exact same thing about Will Muschamp at Florida, who reportedly is up for the Texas job if it opens up. Mike Bianchi, columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, was on Paul Finebaum’s show yesterday, and Finebaum asked him about Will Muchamp, who is currently the coach at Florida, being up for the Texas job.”
CLIP OF BIANCHI: “If DeLoss Dodds is the [athletic director] and he is the guy doing the hiring, absolutely I think Will Muschamp will be at the top of the list. I don’t know if he’ll be the first guy he calls. I would assume so. But, you know, why wouldn’t he be? DeLoss Dodds is the one who sort of forced Mack Brown into having a ‘coach in waiting’ to begin with and he wanted Will Muschamp. So I would think that DeLoss Dodds thinks a lot about Will Muschamp.”
» Cowherd likes Kiffin “for whatever reasons” and thinks “he does a lot of things right” but cannot pinpoint even one thing to support his argument.
» Cowherd says Mushcamp is “reportedly” up for the Texas job and bases this off of information provided by a columnist in Bianchi who has not reported that Muschamp is a candidate for a job that is not open. Bianchi, asked a direct question by Finebaum, said he assumed Muschamp would be called by Dodds because of their history. This is evident by his using words like “think” and “assume” multiple times.
» Dodds, according to OrangeBloods.com’s Chip Brown who cites two well-placed sources, “will step down as athletic director by the end of the calendar year.” Texas has denied this report, of course, considering it is the middle of the football season. Just like the Longhorns job is not open and Muschamp is not being considered at this time, Dodds may not even be the one pulling the trigger on a hire.
“So what has Lane Kiffin done? What has Will Muschamp done to deserve consideration for arguably, I would say, the best job in college football – Texas. And he’s got right now, Florida is the third or fourth best job. He was a great coordinator. So was Lane Kiffin.
“What’s he done at Florida? Kiffin and Muschamp are the same guy. Good looking, energetic young guy who can recruit their butt off. One’s an offensive guy, one a defensive guy.
“He goes to Florida, they’re 7-6. Then he goes and they go 11-2. Yeah, but you lost to the best team you played that year, Georgia, then you got beat in a bowl game as a huge favorite. Now you’re 1-1 and your offense is still a mess three years in. Just got whacked by an ACC team.”
» Aside from looks and age and the fact that both – gasp – were once coordinators, Kiffin and Muschamp are far from “the same guy” either in character and experience. Kiffin was a coordinator for two years and held two head coaching jobs before USC. Muschamp was a coordinator for 11 seasons and never led a team before UF.
» Cowherd glosses over a five-game regular season improvement for Muschamp from year one to year two that included four victories over top-25 teams.
» Kiffin has only beaten two top-25 teams in three-plus seasons.
» UF lost to UGA by eight points in a turnover-filled game that could have gone either way. Louisville was a top 25-ranked team, but Florida was indeed favored by 14 points and lost by 10 – a 24-point swing if gambling lines are important to you.
» USC lost its 2012 bowl game, the Hyundai Sun Bowl, to an unranked Georgia Tech team – a member of the ACC just like Miami – by 14 points.
» Miami beat UF by five points, hardly a whacking. Two of the Hurricanes’ three touchdowns came off Gators’ turnovers, one of which was a fumble recovered at their own five-yard line.
”So, by the way, three years in, you’re awful on one side of the ball just coming off a horrible bowl loss as a huge favorite when you had much better players. And now you’re up for the Texas job? What have you done to deserve that? You are Lane Kiffin.
“You both have great jobs off being great coordinators. That’s what you are. Lane got a great job off being a great coordinator and Will got a great job off being a great coordinator. Both are great recruiters at legendary schools. But I mean, is Muschamp a great defensive mind? Yes. Is he a great recruiter? Yes. But that shouldn’t get you the Florida job and the Texas job, should it? Two of the top five in the sport?”
» Kiffin was a successful coordinator for two years when he took over a team filled with talent. Muschamp proved his greatness as a coordinator for over a decade.
» Florida is certainly struggling offensively, but the Gators just posted the team’s best passing performance in a single game (save for the two interceptions) against an FBS school since Tim Tebow whacked – term legitimately used here – Cincinnati 51-24 in the 2010 Sugar Bowl.
“But I mean, Will Muschamp, Will Muschamp is literally up for the Texas job, which is in my opinion the best job in college football.”
» Well, no, he’s not “literally” up for the job. A columnist who did not cite a source or any inside information assumed Muschamp would be called by an athletic director who may not even be with the school when it hires for a position that is not open.
”He’s in his third year at Florida. That offense is unwatchable, unwatchable. They just lost to Miami, a rebuilding program, and he just got beat. He’s lost two of his last three games and in both cases he had much better players.
“I’m not saying Will Muschamp won’t survive. That’s not the argument I’m making. But he’s got the Florida job and he’s up for the Texas job, potentially. Those are two of the top five jobs in the country.”
» If Muschamp is the same as Kiffin, who is on as thin of a leash as Brown, who Cowherd assumes will be fired at the conclusion of the season, why should Muschamp survive this season at UF, which he called one of the best jobs in the country?
“Just because you used to be a really good vice president in Minnesota and then were maybe a really good governor maybe in another state, you don’t necessarily have the right to run California.”
”I think Will Muschamp is fine, I do. I think he’s a really good defensive coach. But Texas could get Nick Saban. Texas could get Jon Gruden. They could get anybody they wanted to.”
”Will Muschamp is a good coach, but we don’t know. That offense, I got news for you, that Florida offense is bad. It is bad. And they lost the best team they played last year, Georgia, because they didn’t have to play, remember they didn’t have Alabama on the schedule. So they would have lost to Alabama. And they lost to Georgia. And then they got beat in a bowl game as a huge favorite. So, you’re talking about the Texas job is gold. It’s the gold standard of the sport arguably.”
» Florida did not have to play Alabama, but UF did play and beat Texas A&M (20-17), No. 23 Tennessee (37-20), No. 4 LSU (14-6), No. 7 South Carolina (44-11) and No. 10 Florida State (37-26) last season.
» Alabama most likely would have beaten UF in 2012 – it was the national champion after all – but that is simply another assumption.
“But again, nobody likes Lane Kiffin. Well, what’s Will Muschamp? What’s he done?”
» Cowherd likes Kiffin. He has not yet explained why.
» Muschamp defeated four top-25 teams in 2012 alone and put together a top-10 ranked defense in consecutive years. Miami was Florida’s worst – and only second unranked – loss in Muschamp’s two-plus seasons. The other was also a rival – FSU.
» Kiffin has lost to six unranked teams (Washington, Oregon State, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Arizona, Georgia Tech, Washington State) and is 2-7 against ranked opponents during his tenure at USC.
Then again, considering what Cowherd said before beginning his segment about Muschamp – he was discussing an upcoming appearance Thursday on the Numbers Never Lie television program – perhaps one should have seen an argument with this many holes coming from a mile away.
“Do you have to be factual on that show? Because that’s not really my strength,” he said. “It’s not that I lie. It’s that I make stuff up.”
At least he can admit it.