Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin has enough to worry about this week as he prepares to play No. 1 Alabama and seven-time national champion coach Nick Saban Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (2:30 p.m. central, CBS).
But in the meantime, he has taken some shots from “Pardon The Interruption” co-host and ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon, who called him “a clown” during the show on Tuesday.
Wilbon was asked by co-host Tony Kornheiser which scenario would be better for the rest of the college football season — an Ole Miss or Alabama win Saturday.
“The answer’s Alabama because of Lane Kiffin,” Wilbon fired. “Lane Kiffin’s a clown. Lane Kiffin has been an embarrassment at multiple stops. I mean nobody’s going to run out there and say, ‘Yeah, I want Lane Kiffin right here on the logo representing me.’ The answer’s Alabama, Tony.”
Kiffin, 46, was fired as head coach of the Oakland Raiders during the 2008 season and by USC as head coach during the 2013 season. He then became Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 2014. He was supposed to stay at Alabama as offensive coordinator through the 2016 national championship game after he accepted the Florida Atlantic head coaching job, but coach Nick Saban relieved him of his duties before that because of a lack of focus.
Kiffin became the Ole Miss coach before the 2020 season and took the Rebels to a 5-5 record with a win over Indiana in the Outback Bowl. It was Ole Miss’ first bowl since 2015. The Rebels (3-0) are No. 12 in the nation this season and No. 1 in total offense with 635 yards a game – 76 more yards a game than No. 2 Ohio State – with a Heisman Trophy favorite quarterback in Matt Corral.
Kiffin tweeted on Tuesday that he will pray for Wilbon. On Wednesday, he was asked about Wilbon’s comments on the weekly Southeastern Conference teleconference.
“I think everybody has a right to whatever. You can’t control what people do,” Kiffin said. “I worry more when the person’s actually met you and knows you versus someone that’s never met you and doesn’t know you at all. To say those things is pretty over the top compared to what most professional media say, but he got attention, so maybe that’s the name of the game.”
Asked whether it was a “low blow,” Kiffin said, “Professional media usually don’t go that far, especially when you’ve never met them and they don’t know you at all. But it is what it is. I mean it’s not like the guy had earth shattering news that Alabama is going to beat us. He should go to Vegas with that earth shattering prediction.”
FanDuel has Ole Miss as a 14.5 underdog against Alabama.