Well folks, it’s officially the offseason, which means it’s never too early to look ahead to our next opponent: The Ole Miss Runnin’ Rebel Land Shark Bears.
I can never remember what the Ole Miss mascot is so I combined them all pic.twitter.com/QBKP8RmNVP— KD ➐ (@notkdk3) October 10, 2020
That’s right, Louisville will face off against the University of Mississippi for the first time in school history on Sept 4th, 2021 in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium for the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game.
This game was scheduled in 2017 after the Cards’ exciting 2016 campaign that was highlighted by Lamar Jackson winning the Heisman. Things for Ole Miss were also looking like they were on the up-and-up even though Hugh Freeze finished with a 5-7 record in his final season in Oxford and had a VERY interesting offseason that led to the firing of Freeze and the hiring of Matt Luke. Seemed like a good matchup at the time. But four seasons later, and two more coach firings between the schools, we now have a game between two programs who are in the very early stages of rebuilds.
Not exactly the heavyweight bout we all were hoping this might have been.
But if you’re a Louisville fan in need of something, or I should say, “someone,” who will get you fired up for this game, then look no further than the on the other sideline:
Lane. Mother F’n. Kiffin.
That’s right. We get to go toe to toe against the infamous Joey Freshwater and spend the next nine months getting to know the mysterious man as well as we can.
For those unfamiliar with Kiffin, he has a rich and controversial background as a coach. Highlighted by being surprisingly hired as the head coach of the Raiders at just the age of 31, only to be fired 18 months later. He then got hired at Tennessee only to leave for USC after just one season in Knoxville, which he followed up by being fired three seasons later on an airport tarmac at 3:14am at Los Angeles International after a loss to Arizona State. He later spent time in Tuscaloosa rehabbing his image while serving as offensive coordinator under Nick Saban. Things were going pretty well for once as he helped lead the Crimson Tide to three straight playoff appearances, earned a head coaching job at FAU with the option to finish out his championship run at Bama, but he was instead controversially let go by Saban a week before the championship game.
Y’all, that’s just scratching the surface of this guy.
But what excites me most about this man is that he is an expert troll. No, I’m not talking about the basic kind of troll we’re used to seeing like that one UK fan in your office who has called your favorite school “Loserville” since the dawn of time, where if they had a single ounce of brain power or creativity they could have come up with something hilarious like Clemson fans’ “Pooisville Fartnals,” which only took them two seasons of rivalrying with UofL to come up with.
No, I’m talking about a type of troll we haven’t seen in a coaching job since Steve Spurrier’s heyday. But instead of telling you about what a master troll he is, why don’t I just show you?
It’s always best to start with his disdain for Tennessee. SBNation’s Morgan Moriarty (@Morgan_Moriarty) has a wonderful, extensive breakdown of all his Tennessee trolls, but among them these are my favorite:
Let’s start with the the time he returned to Knoxville as Bama’s offensive coordinator in 2014 and gave the fans a friendly finger pistol
Or the time in 2016 he wore an orange tie to the Tennessee game…
And then threw his visor into the crowd after steamrolling the Vols 49-10 that same day
But Tennessee’s not the only school he remembers. Hello, USC.
In one of his finer moments he posted this tweet after beating USC 52-6
Post game w the game ball!!! #3:14AM-LAX pic.twitter.com/cxQkJ89254— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) September 4, 2016
But where things get really fun is that no school is off limits for Mr. Freshwater. In fact, he’s made it a habit to make fun of just about any school his team faces. Some of his best work came just a week ago against Indiana where he butchered the one thing Hoosier fans love more than their own children
Just five days after being hired at Ole Miss he sent an encrypted hello to his new rivals
In one of my personal favorite moments of his, he retweeted then-Kentucky OC Darin Hinshaw after Hinshaw took a not-so-subtle shot at QB prospect Mac Jones just minutes after he flipped his commitment to Alabama in 2016
And then there’s the time he posted…this…for South Carolina
I cannot stress enough how small of a sample all of this is. He has a gold mine out there that’s just waiting to be discovered if you ever have some down time.
So, for the next nine months we get nothing but Lane’s undivided attention and I could not be more excited to see what he comes up with. Good thing we have no embarrassing material he can use against us.
Bring it on, Lane.