Cowherd on Muschamp vs. Kiffin: A breakdown

By Adam Silverstein
September 19, 2013

ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd spent nearly seven minutes on his nationally syndicated show Thursday afternoon discussing current Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and both comparing him to USC head coach Lane Kiffin and questioning why he would be up for the Texas job, which is not open as of press time.

Below is the segment from Cowherd’s program with his words in block quotes. Be aware that it is broken down into multiple sections.

“For whatever reasons, and you can have your own reasons, I like Lane Kiffin. I think he’s in some trouble at USC, but I like him. I think he does a lot of things right, but you don’t. The public doesn’t. We’re not going to argue over that. Clearly you don’t, you’re not into him, the media is tough on him – blah, blah, blah. So you have already decided, ‘That guy, how does he get a job that good?’ That’s all I’ve heard for three years. ‘How does Lane Kiffin…what did he do to earn a job that good?’”

» After serving as an offensive coordinator for just two seasons, Kiffin was hired by the Oakland Raiders in 2007 and led the team to a 4-12 record. He was fired by owner Al Davis following a huge public spat that included Davis saying he warned Kiffin that his conduct was detrimental to the team. Upon his firing, which included a lawsuit from Kiffin, Davis called Kiffin a “disgrace to the organization.”

» Kiffin was hired in 2009 by Tennessee and went 7-6, losing his bowl game that year by 23 points. While failing to meet expectations with the Vols, he incorrectly but publicly accused another head coach – Florida’s Urban Meyer – of recruiting violations when none occurred. He was publicly reprimanded by the Southeastern Conference. Kiffin also reportedly told a recruit, Alshon Jeffrey, that if he went to South Carolina “he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life.” Jeffrey committed to the Gamecocks and now plays wide receiver for the Chicago Bears.

» Kiffin left UT after one year, suddenly departing for USC and nearly causing a riot on the campus. There were also numerous allegations regarding Kiffin during his time at Tennessee including improper uses of hostesses, questions about a car crash and potential cover-ups, and the NCAA probing his recruiting practices.

“OK, alright. So let me ask you this: Why doesn’t everybody say the exact same thing about Will Muschamp at Florida, who reportedly is up for the Texas job if it opens up. Mike Bianchi, columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, was on Paul Finebaum’s show yesterday, and Finebaum asked him about Will Muchamp, who is currently the coach at Florida, being up for the Texas job.”

CLIP OF BIANCHI: “If DeLoss Dodds is the [athletic director] and he is the guy doing the hiring, absolutely I think Will Muschamp will be at the top of the list. I don’t know if he’ll be the first guy he calls. I would assume so. But, you know, why wouldn’t he be? DeLoss Dodds is the one who sort of forced Mack Brown into having a ‘coach in waiting’ to begin with and he wanted Will Muschamp. So I would think that DeLoss Dodds thinks a lot about Will Muschamp.”

» Cowherd likes Kiffin “for whatever reasons” and thinks “he does a lot of things right” but cannot pinpoint even one thing to support his argument.

» Cowherd says Mushcamp is “reportedly” up for the Texas job and bases this off of information provided by a columnist in Bianchi who has not reported that Muschamp is a candidate for a job that is not open. Bianchi, asked a direct question by Finebaum, said he assumed Muschamp would be called by Dodds because of their history. This is evident by his using words like “think” and “assume” multiple times.

» Dodds, according to’s Chip Brown who cites two well-placed sources, “will step down as athletic director by the end of the calendar year.” Texas has denied this report, of course, considering it is the middle of the football season. Just like the Longhorns job is not open and Muschamp is not being considered at this time, Dodds may not even be the one pulling the trigger on a hire.

“So what has Lane Kiffin done? What has Will Muschamp done to deserve consideration for arguably, I would say, the best job in college football – Texas. And he’s got right now, Florida is the third or fourth best job. He was a great coordinator. So was Lane Kiffin.

“What’s he done at Florida? Kiffin and Muschamp are the same guy. Good looking, energetic young guy who can recruit their butt off. One’s an offensive guy, one a defensive guy.

“He goes to Florida, they’re 7-6. Then he goes and they go 11-2. Yeah, but you lost to the best team you played that year, Georgia, then you got beat in a bowl game as a huge favorite. Now you’re 1-1 and your offense is still a mess three years in. Just got whacked by an ACC team.”

» Aside from looks and age and the fact that both – gasp – were once coordinators, Kiffin and Muschamp are far from “the same guy” either in character and experience. Kiffin was a coordinator for two years and held two head coaching jobs before USC. Muschamp was a coordinator for 11 seasons and never led a team before UF.

» Cowherd glosses over a five-game regular season improvement for Muschamp from year one to year two that included four victories over top-25 teams.

» Kiffin has only beaten two top-25 teams in three-plus seasons.

» UF lost to UGA by eight points in a turnover-filled game that could have gone either way. Louisville was a top 25-ranked team, but Florida was indeed favored by 14 points and lost by 10 – a 24-point swing if gambling lines are important to you.

» USC lost its 2012 bowl game, the Hyundai Sun Bowl, to an unranked Georgia Tech team – a member of the ACC just like Miami – by 14 points.

» Miami beat UF by five points, hardly a whacking. Two of the Hurricanes’ three touchdowns came off Gators’ turnovers, one of which was a fumble recovered at their own five-yard line.

”So, by the way, three years in, you’re awful on one side of the ball just coming off a horrible bowl loss as a huge favorite when you had much better players. And now you’re up for the Texas job? What have you done to deserve that? You are Lane Kiffin.

“You both have great jobs off being great coordinators. That’s what you are. Lane got a great job off being a great coordinator and Will got a great job off being a great coordinator. Both are great recruiters at legendary schools. But I mean, is Muschamp a great defensive mind? Yes. Is he a great recruiter? Yes. But that shouldn’t get you the Florida job and the Texas job, should it? Two of the top five in the sport?”

» Kiffin was a successful coordinator for two years when he took over a team filled with talent. Muschamp proved his greatness as a coordinator for over a decade.

» Florida is certainly struggling offensively, but the Gators just posted the team’s best passing performance in a single game (save for the two interceptions) against an FBS school since Tim Tebow whacked – term legitimately used here – Cincinnati 51-24 in the 2010 Sugar Bowl.

“But I mean, Will Muschamp, Will Muschamp is literally up for the Texas job, which is in my opinion the best job in college football.”

» Well, no, he’s not “literally” up for the job. A columnist who did not cite a source or any inside information assumed Muschamp would be called by an athletic director who may not even be with the school when it hires for a position that is not open.

”He’s in his third year at Florida. That offense is unwatchable, unwatchable. They just lost to Miami, a rebuilding program, and he just got beat. He’s lost two of his last three games and in both cases he had much better players.

“I’m not saying Will Muschamp won’t survive. That’s not the argument I’m making. But he’s got the Florida job and he’s up for the Texas job, potentially. Those are two of the top five jobs in the country.”

» If Muschamp is the same as Kiffin, who is on as thin of a leash as Brown, who Cowherd assumes will be fired at the conclusion of the season, why should Muschamp survive this season at UF, which he called one of the best jobs in the country?

“Just because you used to be a really good vice president in Minnesota and then were maybe a really good governor maybe in another state, you don’t necessarily have the right to run California.”

» Huh?

”I think Will Muschamp is fine, I do. I think he’s a really good defensive coach. But Texas could get Nick Saban. Texas could get Jon Gruden. They could get anybody they wanted to.”

» Probably not Nick Saban. Or Jon Gruden.

”Will Muschamp is a good coach, but we don’t know. That offense, I got news for you, that Florida offense is bad. It is bad. And they lost the best team they played last year, Georgia, because they didn’t have to play, remember they didn’t have Alabama on the schedule. So they would have lost to Alabama. And they lost to Georgia. And then they got beat in a bowl game as a huge favorite. So, you’re talking about the Texas job is gold. It’s the gold standard of the sport arguably.”

» Florida did not have to play Alabama, but UF did play and beat Texas A&M (20-17), No. 23 Tennessee (37-20), No. 4 LSU (14-6), No. 7 South Carolina (44-11) and No. 10 Florida State (37-26) last season.

» Alabama most likely would have beaten UF in 2012 – it was the national champion after all – but that is simply another assumption.

“But again, nobody likes Lane Kiffin. Well, what’s Will Muschamp? What’s he done?”

» Cowherd likes Kiffin. He has not yet explained why.

» Muschamp defeated four top-25 teams in 2012 alone and put together a top-10 ranked defense in consecutive years. Miami was Florida’s worst – and only second unranked – loss in Muschamp’s two-plus seasons. The other was also a rival – FSU.

» Kiffin has lost to six unranked teams (Washington, Oregon State, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Arizona, Georgia Tech, Washington State) and is 2-7 against ranked opponents during his tenure at USC.

Then again, considering what Cowherd said before beginning his segment about Muschamp – he was discussing an upcoming appearance Thursday on the Numbers Never Lie television program – perhaps one should have seen an argument with this many holes coming from a mile away.

“Do you have to be factual on that show? Because that’s not really my strength,” he said. “It’s not that I lie. It’s that I make stuff up.”

At least he can admit it.


  1. mike says:

    I heard this and thought exactly the same things. Cowherd is a west coast homer.

  2. Karl says:

    You’re my hero.

  3. Oldflyer says:

    Well, Cowherd accomplished his goal. He has people talking about what he said. Isn’t that always what it is about?

    There are no standards in that world, other than how many people tune in, and how much ‘buzz” you create.

  4. Michael Jones says:

    Cowherd is an idiot. He always has been. He’s the dangerous kind of idiot who glibly expresses his idiotic opinions with such dogmatic confidence that he sometimes succeeds in getting intelligent people to question their own view point. Don’t give that moron that much power.

    Cowherd is the poster boy for how low the bar has been set and how little talent it takes to be a national star on the sports media circuit.

    Of course he likes Lane Kiffin. Why wouldn’t he? He too is a pretty boy smartass with no moral fiber or substantive talent, just like Kiffin. They’re made of the same stuff.

  5. ziggy says:

    “For whatever reasons, and you can have your own reasons, I like Lane Kiffin”

    That’s when you know to quit listening. And Texas, the “best” job in the nation? It’s a great job, but to think that they actually have a shot at getting Nick Saban from Alabama? Come on man. This guy is a tard

    • Luke says:

      Texas is probably the best job in the nation… When they’re winning, they can literally take all the talent in TX and most of the surrounding states, and they don’t have anyone in state that really can rival them. Compare that to UF and we go against all FL schools, plus GA, LA, SC, and every other big name school comes to our back yard to take talent. Add the Longhorn network and the money that comes from it, and it’s clearly one of the top two jobs in the country, but I’d agree that it’s the number one job.

  6. Mr2Bits says:

    Cowherd has always been known to hate everything Gators. If my memory served me correctly, he used to cover sports in the Tampa Bay area and developed a real hatred for UF. He has always been in love with anything Cali and especially Washington. He’s just another west coast hippie with a grudge against anything Florida.

    • Chino says:

      I definitely disagree with Cowherd on this topic, but he is not a Gator hater. I have been listening to his show for about 10 years now, and I remember when Florida won and a few years before/after he had no problem praising the Gators, Urban and the SEC in general.

      He makes a point in regards to our offense, it DOES suck (it did all of last year, and against our first good/decent opponent this year it sucked again). Comparing D-bag Kiffin to Muschamp, not even close though.

  7. MechEgator says:

    What has Colin Cowherd done?

    Education: Eastern Washington University?

    Career: Local TV & misinformed opinionative talk radio


  8. sjkoepp says:

    I wouldn’t want to go against Adam in debate. That is one well presented retort right there.

  9. one says:

    He likes Kiffin because Kiffin is a blowhard, makes jokes, and more loose than regular college coaches. This is funny though. Kiffin’s next job is as senator of California. There’s no other way for him to fail up at this point.

  10. Timmy T says:

    Hahaha……hilarious. There is no comparison. Idiotic leap to complete silliness. Clownherd should do some stand-up, because that shit right there is funny.

  11. ??? says:

    Colin Cowherd is the Lane Kiffin of radio personalities. Good work.

  12. ga8or22 says:

    GO to TEXASS Will go – you are a decent coach, but you have no understanding of offense you are defense minded and gave no concept of offense- you will learn may rake a few years , but you will learn and you will be a better coach.

  13. Luke says:

    The only point he makes that I think is valid is that both Lane and Will are not deserving of top 5 jobs in the country based on their respective track records. Saban is credited with the success of LSU and Muschamp has been a heck of a coordinator, but not many Texas fans were up in arms when he left. UT’s defense left a lot to be desired…

    My biggest gripe about Muschamp from day one was that he’s never run a program and UF is a top 5 job by all accounts (top 3 by me) and we had the budget to go out and pluck from anywhere and we took a guy with no HC experience. Can’t blame ‘Champ for not keeping a staff together, but we all scratched our heads a bit with the Charlie Weiss hire, Pease has never run a very successful O (Peterson has proven he was behind Hawkin’s success and he’s known to run that program), and DJ has also never been a DC.

    I think we could have got Peterson to come, probably could have brought Pete Carroll back, Gruden? Maybe, Fedora, yes. Gary Peterson, heck, we could probably have gotten Saban to come with enough $$.

    I hope I’m proven wrong with Muschamp and he turns out to be a 10 yr+ coach with multiple SEC titles and a couple BCS titles, but right now I can’t help but see a guy that gets fired up at the wrong people (i.e., refs instead of his players) and he coaches like a DC instead of letting his OC do what he’s supposed to do best.

    The point Cowherd makes is valid: both coaches are likable and successful coordinators, but what has either done to get top 5 jobs in the country? And, if Texas calls ‘Champ and ponies up, I think we lose him… In some circles, UT has a better shot at playing for the BCS every year than we do, simply because the SEC is stacked, we play a very tough schedule, and UT can take the top talent from Texas every single year…

    Go Gators! And here’s to hoping Muschamp turns this team into a dynasty the way he’s learned from coaches before…

    • Daniel M. says:

      Sooooo? You would have taken Gruden over Muschamp.


      • Luke says:

        That’s all you picked up in the comment? You don’t deserve a response, but I’ll give you that. Try to find the main point…

    • ptoddchesser says:

      I also hope that Muschamp turns out to be the coach I believe he can be. I would love to see the Gators move back up to a program that is considered a viable candidate for the BCS every year.
      The only part of your comment I take pause with is Pete Carroll. I have never liked the guy and he left a bit of mess at USC. He is a heck of a coach but I would never want him at Florida.
      Go Gators!

  14. gatorboi352 says:

    Florida’s offense improving? I’m a big fan of numbers where it actually matters:

    Via ESPN: “Conversely, some of Florida’s offensive woes can be attributed to quarterback Jeff Driskel, whose Total QBR inside an opponent’s 20 (1.5) is the second lowest in the nation among quarterbacks with at least 10 action plays. Driskel is one of five qualified quarterbacks with more interceptions (two) than touchdowns (one) inside the red zone. Florida’s three turnovers against Miami were its most red zone turnovers in a game in the last 10 seasons. The Gators have already matched or exceeded their total of red zone turnovers from each of the past three seasons.”

    • gatorboi352 says:

      How damning is that last sentence?? 🙁

      They got a lot of work to do, hopefully that bye week pays off.

  15. ptoddchesser says:

    I would love to say Cowherd is an idiot but he’s not. He knows people will talk about the inane things he says. It is obvious that he doesn’t know too much about what he is talking about.
    On another note, he has been on Kiffin’s jock for as long as I can remember.
    I used to listen to him just to hear the garbage he would spout then Dan Patrick came on the air in my market and that ended Cowherd.

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