Lane Kiffin Bowl set, but will he still be coaching Ole Miss when Rebels play USC?

Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic Owls. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic Owls. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Ole Miss Rebels are set to face the USC Trojans in 2025 and 2026. Will Lane Kiffin still be coaching Ole Miss in time for the first Lane Kiffin Bowl?

Upon Lane Kiffin’s arrival in Oxford, Mississippi, everything changed for the better.

Ole Miss Rebels football became increasingly more interesting. While we wanted to see Matt Luke succeed at his alma mater, it wasn’t in the cards for him. He lost the Egg Bowl, and his job, due to a dog pee celebration in the end zone. A poorly-timed leg lift was his undoing. Luke resurfaced in a good spot as the Georgia Bulldogs offensive line coach, but it’s all aboard the Lane Train in Oxford.

Kiffin to Ole Miss raised the bar so much in Mississippi that archrival Mississippi State couldn’t afford to keep Joe Moorhead as its head coach and stay relevant. He wasn’t a good culture fit in Starkville anyway, so they added the only man who could match Kiffin’s mystique in “The Pirate” Mike Leach. The Egg Bowl might draw bigger numbers than the Iron Bowl this year. We can’t wait.

Another thing we cannot wait for involving Kiffin is the creation of his sacred bowl’s namesake: The Lane Kiffin Bowl. His current employer Ole Miss has scheduled a home-and-home with his former employer USC, you know, the one who fired him on the tarmac after losing to Arizona State. While it can’t be played on asphalt, pavement or concrete, grass and dirt will have to do.

With Lane Kiffin Bowl dates on the calendar for 2025 and 2026, the only question is if “The Godfather” of this budding football rivalry will even be coaching in it? What’s the point of the Lane Kiffin Bowl if the Lane Train isn’t even at the station?

The first two installments of the Lane Kiffin Bowl

  • 2025: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, CA)
  • 2026: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (Oxford, MS)

In his 45 years of life, Kiffin has been a head coach five times, but never more than 3.5 seasons anywhere. He wanted year five at USC, but got fired on the tarmac mid-season year four. No olympiad for Ole Lane. Kiffin’s other head-coaching jobs were with the then-Oakland Raiders (2007-08), the Tennessee Volunteers (2009) and the Florida Atlantic Owls (2017-19).

Of his four previous head-coaching gigs, Kiffin had the most success in Boca Raton. The Owls won at least 10 games twice in three years, winning Conference USA titles in 2017 and 2019. They won the Boca Raton Bowl at home in 2017. Kiffin hopped aboard the Lane Train Oxford bound before the 2019 Boca Raton Bowl date.

So for Kiffin to coach in the first installment of his iconic bowl game’s namesake, he’ll need to be entering year six at Ole Miss. Kiffin will have needed to celebrate his 50th birthday to a splendid rendition of “Hotty Toddy” down on The Grove. It will be a 1:1 visor to man ratio for all males in attendance.

Kiffin’s return to The Coliseum will be met with resounding boos. Surely, USC will be back by then, but they haven’t been back since they fired Kiffin on the tarmac. You could have had Ed Orgeron, but Steve Sarkisian was apparently the better option in your eyes. How’d that turn out?

Should Kiffin want to see the Trojans attempt to Fight On in Oxford, he’ll need to stick around Ole Miss for half a dozen years. Since the legendary Johnny Vaught retired for the first time in 1970, only two coaches have made it six years on the job at Ole Miss: Billy Brewer (1983-93) and David Cutcliffe (1998-04). They sure went to a lot of Independence Bowls between the two of them.

While everything we’ve ever seen out of Kiffin and more often than not out of Ole Miss, we shouldn’t expect Kiffin to be coaching Ole Miss in time for the first installment of the Lane Kiffin Bowl. We can only hope he becomes the greatest thing to happen to Oxford since the red solo cup. The only way this home-and-home is better is if he leaves Ole Miss for a second run at USC.

USC may not have it together by then as an athletic department. Kiffin has found his footing after hitting rock bottom on that tarmac in 2013. If he gets Ole Miss to New Year’s Six Bowls like one of his predecessors Hugh Freeze did but without cheating, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing to see USC welcome Lane back with open arms. That’d be one hell of a Hollywood script if you ask me.

Keeping the Lane Kiffin Bowl alive for our viewing pleasure is the only thing that matters. Go Rebs!

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