Let’s just go ahead and call it the Lane Kiffin Bowl ... even if he’s not there when the games are played.
On Monday, Kiffin’s current school, Ole Miss, and one of his former schools, USC, announced a future home-and-home series. The Rebels will travel west to Los Angeles to play the Trojans at the Coliseum on Aug. 30, 2025 before USC heads to Oxford for the return trip on Sept. 19, 2026. The two games will mark the first two times the schools have met in football.
Before being hired by Ole Miss, Kiffin had multiple stints at USC. He first rose through the coaching ranks as an assistant under Pete Carroll before short stays as head coach of the Oakland Raiders and the University of Tennessee. Following two years in Oakland and just one at UT, Kiffin returned to USC — this time as head coach.
Kiffin arrived at USC with the NCAA cloud from the Reggie Bush investigation looming and went a combined 18-7 in his first two seasons. Things went downhill from there. The 2012 Trojans entered the season ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25, but ended up going only 7-6. When USC dropped its first two conference games in 2013, Kiffin was infamously fired by Pat Haden at the airport after a road loss to Arizona State.
Despite the rocky ending to his time at USC, Kiffin (who hired USC head coach Clay Helton as his QBs coach back in 2010) spoke highly of the university in a statement.
“USC will always be a special place to my family and me, and we were excited to finalize this series,” Kiffin said. “This will showcase two of college football’s greatest gamedays, and we look forward to this meeting down the road.”
If you believe social media, maybe some of the old wounds have been healed.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) May 18, 2020
After his time at USC ended, Kiffin landed at Alabama and spent three seasons as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator. Kiffin helped Alabama win a national title in 2015 and ended up accepting the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic before the Tide played in the 2017 College Football Playoff title game. Apparently unable to juggle two jobs (or maybe Nick Saban was sick of Kiffin’s antics), Kiffin was pushed aside ahead of the championship in favor of Steve Sarkisian.
Kiffin went 26-13 in three seasons at FAU and won two Conference USA titles before getting the Ole Miss job.
Drama seems to follow Kiffin wherever he goes, so who knows if he will be around for these Ole Miss vs. USC matchups. The first one is five full seasons away and Kiffin has never lasted four full seasons at any of his previous head coaching stops.
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