September 22, 2009
Between being accused of cheating by Steve Spurrier, assembling a lavishly compensated staff that sometimes conducted business shirtless, accusing Urban Meyer of cheating on signing day, committing no less than four minor but often hilarious recruiting violations of his own, getting banned from certain high schools and eventually wooing Bryce Brown to Knoxville, Lane Kiffin was nothing short of a boon for blogs throughout the offseason. And the circus paid off for CBS last Saturday, too:
The Florida-Tennessee drew an overnight household rating/share of 4.8/11 on CBS, which is up 60 percent from last year's Florida-Tennessee game (3.0/7). Saturday's rating/share was the highest CBS has had for its first game of the college football season since 2002, when the UF-Miami game drew a 6.0/13.
Just like last year, Tennessee was coming off a sketchy loss to UCLA; just like last year, Jonathan Crompton was at quarterback, and this time came in as a confirmed mediocrity. Florida returned almost its entire roster, and Tebow was no more of a star than he was as the reigning Heisman winner and resident force of nature in the '08 game. The Gators were supposed to win by a wider margin. Urban Meyer still pointed and scowled.
The only difference was that Kiffin called Meyer a cheater and said the thing about singing "Rocky Top." On average, two million more people thought that made for a more interesting Saturday afternoon than in 2008. That's gettin' the logo out there.