So Lane Kiffin, Urban Meyer, and Steve Spurrier all walk into an elevator . . . .
Have you ever been to see a really good comedian, someone you just know is going to be hilarious because you've consistently seen him do it before? Everyone in the crowd is anticipating the comedy so much that they're pretty much willing to laugh at anything. So as soon as the guy opens his mouth -- "You knoooowww . . . ." -- the audience breaks out in laughter despite the fact he hasn't told a single joke yet.
I think that's what happened down in Destin, Florida yesterday at the annual SEC Spring Meeting. A bunch of national sports writers stood at the elevator bank, pens and digital recorders poised, while Lane Kiffin, Steve Spurrier, and "a couple of other coaches" were waiting for their ride up to their rooms.
Oooh. Burn. Sting.
Wait, nothing's happened yet? Just wait. This is going to be good. I just know it.
Okay, so a reporter asks Spurrier if he was aware that Kiffin had mentioned that he'd never gotten an apology from Spurrier for questioning whether Kiffin had passed his recruiting test.
Wait. Not yet.
Spurrier sighed, slumped his shoulders and then wheeled around toward Kiffin, who was standing about five feet away waiting on the same elevator.
"I didn't accuse you of cheating," said an animated Spurrier, motioning toward Kiffin, who stood there with his face reddening by the second.
"What I said was, 'Was it permissible to call recruits before you were announced head coach and had taken the [recruiting] test?' Now, you took the test online, and I didn't even know you could do that. I thought you had to take the test on campus ... and then start calling [recruits]."
Yeah. The slumping of the shoulders bit seems to suggest that Spurrier was playing around, and that would have been good. But then he's "animated" and Kiffin's going red. Then the clarification, but without snark or wit or anything else entertaining. And it's not exactly an argument, either. No profanity, no insults. No nothing. Just talk. But it's being called everything from a "classic exchange" to "great theater" this morning.
Andy Staples got it right by saying that fireworks were nowhere to be found, and Matt Hayes apparently agrees with Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, who suggested a round of ultimate fighting.
All that's not to say that yesterday wasn't interesting. It was. Very. As both I and kidbourbon noted yesterday, Lane Kiffin, and the Tennessee Volunteers by association, are everywhere on the web. We're not the only ones who've noticed, either.
Without playing a down, Kiffin has made Tennessee the most talked-about program in the country.
"I'm on [ESPN's Pardon the Interruption] during March Madness and we're talking about Lane. He's playing you guys perfectly."
Yeah. As Kiffin's said, there aren't any six-year plans anymore. The dreaded Clawfense experiment suggests that there's little tolerance for even two-year plans. Fans need improvement. Now. Forever. And so Kiffin opens his mouth and gets other people talking.
A side benefit is that humorless curmudgeon Urban Meyer is still not amused. Or comfortable. Or . . . waaaaaaaaaaaa:
I think it's important for the SEC that everybody be first class. This is big time, the best conference in America.
. . . .
This is the first year I've been asked more questions about other schools than my own. That bothers me. I'm not going to do that any more. I'm going to talk about the Gators. I'm awful proud of our team.
Side note: First class what? He really should clarify that comment with a noun. Anyway . . .
Urban Meyer is bothered. He's bothered by Lane Kiffin.
And Lane Kiffin's got the crowd in such an anticipatory state, that they'll bite before the bait even arrives.