THE FAST LANE

Del Olaleye: Meet college football's next Steve Spurrier

Lane Kiffin is fun for college football. FAUOwlaccess.com

The best thing to happen to college football this season was Lane Kiffin moving to Boca Raton. Fortunately for Kiffin and the rest of the college football world Boca Raton is home to Florida Atlantic University and they just happened to have a job opening. There has been a void in college football created by the departure of Steve Spurrier from the sport. Really this void was created the minute the OBC (Ol’ Ball Coach) left Florida for the Redskins job. Spurrier did a great job rebuilding the South Carolina program when he returned to college football, leading that program to three straight 11-win seasons in his time there but he wasn’t the same swaggering sh-- talker that everyone feared while he was at Florida. He wasn’t a mute at South Carolina but he was at his best when he was leading the Fun and Gun at his alma mater. No coach was safe and even legends of the sport caught it, on Peyton Manning: "I know why Peyton came back for his senior year. He wanted to be a three-time star of the Citrus Bowl."

Spurrier was one of a kind and the sport is worse off without him. That brings me back to Kiffin. He isn’t Spurrier yet. He doesn’t have the cache, the wins or half the respect, but what he does have is no filter, arrogance, a great offensive mind and insight into Alabama, the most dominant program in all of college football. Saban and Kiffin was an odd partnership the moment Kiffin’s hiring by Alabama was announced. How would Saban’s process-oriented approach mesh with Kiffin’s less than stellar past? Pretty, pretty good. Three CFP appearances from 2014-2016 including a National Title in the 2015 season.

The expected rough patches did occur. The most noteworthy being a sideline argument during the National semifinal against the Washington Huskies. Kiffin, already named the FAU head coach, was let go by Saban during title game week for what Saban thought would be in the best interest of the student athletes at both schools. Alabama went on to lose to Clemson and Deshaun Watson in the final seconds of the title game in Steve Sarkisian’s only game as the Bama OC. Kiffin, when asked about his departure in a September 2017 article by the Washington Post said he believed Alabama would be a two-time defending champion if he had been allowed to coach through the title game.

Kiffin kept his eye trained on the Crimson Tide in 2017 while guiding Florida Atlantic to a perfect 8-0 record in conference play and their first Conference USA title. That early success allows for the twitter shots at Saban. Pointing out Saban’s apparent hypocrisy regarding the requirements for making the College Football Playoff are only accepted because Kiffin won eleven games in year one. Without the early validation Kiffin would be subject to jokes about going down to Boca Raton to retire. He’d be quiet. Quiet Kiffin is the worst Kiffin. Out from under the Alabama machine and at a program who would just like to win some damn games he is free to do and say what he wants.

Telling the college football world via the Dan Patrick Show that its newest star Tua Tagovailoa would have transferred from Alabama had he not played in the title game is how he started 2018. According to Kiffin, Tagovailoa thought he should be starting but Saban wouldn’t give him the opportunity. This is why Kiffin’s continued on-field success is so important. I don’t care what he has to say about Butch Davis at FIU or Doc Holliday at Marshall. No one really cared what Steve Spurrier had to say at Duke about the Wake Forest coach either.  Once Spurrier was hired by Florida and starting poking at the blue bloods in the SEC his legend grew. The great offenses and all that winning in the '90s certainly didn’t hurt as well.

We should all hope Kiffin does enough winning at FAU to move on to a bigger job. In the Big Ten perhaps? Kiffin vs Harbaugh? Kiffin vs Meyer? Game week would be better than the actual game. He’d be hated by every fanbase in the conference but his own. Hating everybody but your own is what college football is about and the former USC and Tennessee Vols coach would be a perfect foil. The next big school to hire Kiffin will have a target on its back the moment the introductory press conference begins because Coach Lane can’t help himself.

The great Childish Gambino once said, “They don’t listen when you mumble.” Kiffin wants to be heard.

Meet the next Steve Spurrier. Lane Kiffin.

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Texans fall to 1-6. Photo by Getty Images

Don't you worry, son. It will all be over soon.

- Teddy KGB, Rounders

The Texans horrible season continued on Sunday when they were soundly beaten by the Green Bay Packers. The Texans got some garbage points to make the score look better late, but they were never in this. They could not run the football, and even though he had a receiving score, maybe it's time the David Johnson experiment ended. Aaron Rodgers ate their souls with four touchdown passes and the Texans fell to 1-6. Five thoughts on the game:

1) First impressions? Not so much. For the seventh time this season, the Texans failed to score on their opening drive. They had ONE touchdown last season on their opening drive, week 17 against the Titans. While Bill O'Brien still gets a lot of that blame, Tim Kelly is now 0 for 3 as an OC. Whoever takes over next season has to fix this. Especially against good teams, the Texans simply can't afford to get down early. They were down 21-0 at the half and never had a real chance.

2) There is good news! Hopefully this lets the team know that there is no chance of anything this season. With the trade deadline looming, any veteran not named Watson or Tunsil should be available for draft picks. It remains unlikely they will do anything, but they have some pieces that might bring a return. Hopefully they no longer think the season can be salvaged.

3) They really aren't close against good teams. The little things continue to be a problem. Key penalties to hurt drives; untimely failures on third down. The offense has to do a better job staying on the field, because the defense just is not good enough to stop solid offenses. Things got worse when their best corner, Bradley Roby went out with injury. Overall, the Packers were better on both sides of the ball, and they made the Texans look bad throughout. The Texans needed some breaks to go their way in order to be competitive, like what happened last week against Tennessee. That didn't happen, and they were never in the game.

4) They won special teams! They blocked a punt in the fourth quarter that helped make the final score a little closer. They also blocked a kick last week. Other than their overpaid kicker (who missed a field goal), the special teams have been solid. Their punter might be the best player at his job on the entire team. So there's that. A positive, right?

5) The future? Meh. The Texans get the Jaguars, Browns and Patriots next, so they should have a chance at some wins, but they could also lose to all three of those teams. And with no high draft pick reward at the end of the year, there is little left to play or root for in this season.

With nine games left, you would like to think there was something left to care about. But if it isn't over yet, it's as Teddy said: It will all be over soon.

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