Ole Miss football coach Lane Kiffin never misses an opportunity to stir the pot when speaking to the media.
Kiffin is known for his epic one-liners that often generate buzz across the college football landscape, especially when facing Alabama. He previously served as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator from 2014 to ‘16 under Nick Saban after he was fired as USC’s football coach in ‘13.
On Saturday, during a live interview with SEC Network, Kiffin praised Saban while also dropping a puzzling line that left fans wondering about the future of matchups between he and the longtime Alabama coach.
“I was in a very challenging difficult time ... After the USC firing in my life, kind of a really rock bottom and I have so much appreciation for what Nick Saban did for me by taking an opportunity on me and really helping me through that,” Kiffin said. “Until you really hit rock bottom in your life and rebuild yourself from there, you really don’t figure yourself out. So, I give him a lot of credit. I love going against him and seeing him before the game. …We’re excited for this opportunity today and you never know how many more you've got. Maybe this is our last time.”
"I was in a very challenging difficult time ... kind of a really rock bottom and I have so much appreciation for what Nick Saban did for me."@Lane_Kiffin reflected on Nick Saban's influence on his life with @MartySmithESPN. pic.twitter.com/ygVEzAI3O8— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 23, 2023
Fans did not hold back with their reactions to the latter part of Kiffin’s comment. With Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC in ’24 as part of the league’s realignment, the clash between Saban and his former assistant will not always remain a marquee matchup moving forward, but many wondered if Kiffin was implying at a bigger change to come that would prevent the two coaches from meeting.
Hey Michael, we aren’t scheduled next year and who knows how future SEC schedules will work out so not a big statement to make about a 70 year old coach or Lane Kiffin for that matter. Try to find something else to offend you.— Rob Christian (@RobChristian20) September 23, 2023
Just straight trolling nick on live tv— Darth Jerome (@papadox11) September 23, 2023
Kiffin plays too much. He always messes with wrong people. If he really wanted popcorn for people, schedule Colorado. It’d be like 2 Ferbies trying to talk to each other for a whole week.— Stephen’s2Cents (@RTRSTL80) September 23, 2023
He’s got point since Ole Miss isn’t on the schedule for the foreseeable future.— Allen (@AllenVickJr) September 23, 2023
@Lane_Kiffin trying to take the psychological game up a notch.— The Grumpy Elephant 🐘 (@GrumpyTusks) September 23, 2023
Don’t forget that they won’t be playing each other every year now with expansion so it doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn’t think Nick will be coaching next year. Another stupid part of expansion.— Casey (@SDCoachCJ) September 23, 2023
Lane loves feeding the media and the media loves gobbling it up— Rylee F. Zingo (blue check mark) (@FlynnZingo) September 23, 2023
Or, could Kiffin have been alluding to things changing in Oxford, Mississippi or a potential changing of the guard in Tuscaloosa, Alabama? That remains to be seen.
Either way, it was typical Kiffin behavior.