As much as I really do like football (and especially college football), what I really love are football fans. The SEC fan base is one of the most thoroughly entertaining cultures I have ever seen, even though they sometimes get on my nerves, and I love reveling with the Volunteers in the rituals and traditions of the sport.
So, that being said, I really wanted to figure out how we as a fan base were reacting to the news of Derek Dooley's recent translation from Louisiana to Knoxville, Tennessee, and I turned to Google's trend trackers to figure that out. What I discovered was really darn funny: Lane Kiffin is yesterday's news. The real tragedy of the last week, apparently, is the end of the Layla Kiffin Era.
So, the Almighty Google actually keeps statistics on a side website called Google Trends; they keep a record of how often certain Internet searches are performed and compare their popularity with other terms being searched at the same time. They also keep a web chain of related searches done in the same hour. The picture above shows how the search term "Derek Dooley" trended yesterday during the news of Dooley's impending hire. As of 6 PM Eastern Standard time, "Derek Dooley" was, according to Google, "Volcanic." Yowza.
(That page gets really weird, though, if you look at the related searches. There's nothing wrong with Googling his record at Louisana Tech, but... obituary?! Maybe we can blame that one on a disgruntled Tech fan...)
Okay, so Derek Dooley is "volcanic." But just how hot is that? Well, let's shake the Magic 8 Ball again and ask the Almighty Google that one, too:
Derek Dooley is so "volcanic" that he occupies the fourth, sixth, and ninth positions on Google's top ten searches in the United States. His father, Vince Dooley, takes the number seven spot. Put that all together and Tennessee's new football coach makes up 40% of the USA top ten list on Google. There's three hundred million people in the US, everybody. For a brief, shining moment, Volunteer Football was more popular than even Little Jersey Shore. Move over, viral video spoofs of sleazy reality television. Tennesse's got more, real-life drama!
There's one more interesting tidbit of information in that top ten list, however: look at the number six top search. During all the panicked rush to find out something about Tennessee's latest hire, a very large contingent of the football faithful were desperately trying to figure out how to spell his first name. (*facepalm*) Maybe if we could remember the difference between "Derek" the person and "derrick" the drilling platform, he could have beaten out even Deuce McCallister.
So, during this mad search engine blitz yesterday afternoon, what exactly were we all trying to find out about Derek Dooley? His win-loss record at Louisiana Tech? His AD experience? Why he named his son Peyton? Nope. Here's what Google Autocomplete can tell us (and this is where Layla Kiffin comes in):
I just love this. Last night, a large percentage of America was on the Internet looking for things like Dooley's resume at LSU under Nick Saban or news confirming his transfer to Knoxville. But look to the second auto-complete option. Apparently, a lot of us were on the Internet hoping, "oh please oh please oh please let Derek Dooley have a hot wife!" And enough people were doing it to make it appear second in the list. This can only mean one thing: there are people in Knoxville so depressed at losing Layla Kiffin that they're hoping that Dooley's wife will make an appealing substitution. Shame on you, boys. (*smirk*)
Since a lot of you were looking anyhow, let me fill you in: Allison Dooley is darn cute, for what it's worth. But she has something even better than Layla Kiffin's eternal California glow or perfectly flat-ironed blond hair: she's freakin' brilliant.
So, that's what I learned about football fans from Google's search analytics: we all need to learn how to spell Derek. All the fellas should be happy that Allison Dooley is cute. And Tennessee football is a lot more nationally influential in the national consciousness than perhaps the rest of the SEC (or America, for that matter) would normally like to admit. Kiffin or no Kiffin.