By Steve Williams

The best news University of Tennessee football fans got last week was Lane Kiffin is going to be on the Alabama sideline at Neyland Stadium when the Crimson Tide rolls into town on Oct. 25.

Nick Saban is requiring Kiffin to do his offensive coordinating down on the field that day. Out in the open. Just a few yards from many UT fans who do not like Kiffin and haven’t forgotten how he walked out on the Vols not long after the 2009 season to accept his “dream job” at USC.

I thought surely Kiffin would be escorted in hours before kickoff, when the coast was clear and heavily guarded each step of the way to the security of his coaching box way up high. And escorted out the same way, protected all the way back to the airport and into the loving arms of Layla.

Thanks, Nick. This move will assure UT fans will be in attendance for the Bama game, no matter what the Vols’ record might be coming into the game.

I’m not suggesting any physical attacks on Kiffin, so there’s no need to get those old peashooters back out, and don’t even think about hurling a beer bottle that day.

The world of college football will be watching and the character of Tennessee fans will be on the line in how they treat Kiffin.

There will be nothing wrong, however, with making noise and hollering loud each time Lane tries to send in a play. So loud that Alabama will have to spend timeouts. So loud that Kiffin will be distracted and confused. So loud that Bama offensive execution may put the ball on the ground.

And so loud that the Vols may feed off the uproar and pull off the Upset of the Year.

It’s just a hunch, but if Saban doesn’t change his mind and keeps Kiffin on the field, Neyland Stadium will be louder than it’s ever been.

Thanks, Nick.


COLLEGE PLAYOFFS: Can you imagine the controversy and squabbling we’re going to have when the time comes to fill those four college football playoff spots? I believe it will be worse than the BCS ever was.

I would like to see the human element taken out of the selection process, with teams simply earning their way into the playoffs on the field of play by winning their conference championship.

The champion from each of the newly approved five power conferences – the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 Big 12 and the ACC. With there being five power conferences, two conference championship teams would have to square off each year to earn their way into the Final Four. And to make it fair, the two conferences for the “play-in” game would be rotated each year.

What about Notre Dame? That’s easy. Join a conference or start a sixth power conference.

Under my proposal, all five of the power conferences would be considered equal in strength.

I know, SEC fans will argue that ain’t so, and their league is stronger and should have a chance to send two teams to the playoffs. But who’s to say the strength of power will be greater in the SEC 20 years from now?

End the debates. Stop the fussing. Simply settle it on the field!


TSSAA PLAYOFFS: There’s something not right when a team doesn’t have to earn its way into the playoffs. This devalues the regular season, which is really the backbone of the sport of football, just like tournament play is in basketball.

The TSSAA’s new playoff plan will allow all 32 teams in Class 6A to automatically qualify for the playoffs. They don’t have to win a single game.

I remember past seasons when making it to the playoffs was an honor in itself. Those days are gone for now, for Class 6A in Tennessee. And that’s too bad.