Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Trojan War

I'm a firm devotee of ancient literature, particularly the works of Homer (perhaps the second-greatest Homer of all time, only slightly behind Homer Simpson). There were far too many similarities between Tuesday's events around Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin decamping for USC and the Trojan War for me to simply let them pass. I started with a few thoughts on Twitter, but the great Peter James convinced me to turn them into a full post. Thus, we here at Sporting Madness present The Trojan War: 2009 Edition. (If you've got no clue what I'm on about, I highly recommend this primer.)

Following the departure of Pete Carroll for the Seattle Seahawks, USC athletic director Mike "Paris" Garrett was faced with a difficult decision. He had to decide on a new football head coach, and was given three options by the football goddesses. Athena offered him the path of wisdom, going after an established college coach in the Mike Riley vein. Hera offered him the path of power with an NFL coach like Jeff Fisher or Jack Del Rio. Garrett considered their offerings for a while, and may have even attempted to take one or both, but ultimately elected for Aphrodite's gift, the path of headlines. With his selection, he was given the power to lure Layla "Helen" Kiffin, judged by many to be the fairest college football wife on the planet.

Layla Kiffin (image via Clay Travis)

With Layla came her husband, Lane "Menelaus" Kiffin. Lane had inherited various Spartan thrones over the years thanks to his genetics, including those of the Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Volunteers. He hadn't shown great kingly progress to this point, making ill-advised accusations against other SEC coaches and forgetting to send oxen off to his supporters, but the stabilizing influence of his more competent relative Monte "Agamemnon" Kiffin prevented things from getting too bad. The Kiffins set sail for Troy, bringing famed recruiting warrior Ed "Achilles" Orgeron with them, and dragging a horde of prospects as well.

With the departure of the Kiffins came riots, vandalism and other chaos. Part of this was because they left the UT campus of Achaea, but weren't able to get out of town entirely and wound up in Mysia instead, sparking violence among the natives (as seen below).

Despite the chaos, the Kiffins' voyage appears set to get back under way soon and they should make it to the land of the Trojans shortly. However, the success or failure of their war may hang on one man, Norm "Odysseus" Chow. There are rumours that he will join the war effort, and reports that he's sitting at home at archrival UCLA and sowing his fields with salt. USC has landed an impressive cast of coaches in one fell swoop, but they could certainly still use a brilliant offensive mind like Chow. The newcomers may be formidable on the recruiting battlefields, but this will be a war, not merely a short-term clash of arms. The strong may prevail for a day, but they always have their vulnerable heels; in Kiffin's case, that could be the recruiting violations he seems to pick up at will. When the strong go down, it's awfully nice to have a clever man around to pick up the pieces.

Will Lane Kiffin's recruiting violations be his Achilles' heel at USC?

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