What once was billed as the Kiffin Bowl is now The Almost Kiffin-less Bowl — not to mention the fact that it also is, stunningly, missing Raiders owner Al Davis.
Former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin will not have chance to go up against his father, Monte, the Buccaneers defensive coordinator who will be leaving Tampa Bay after this season to join his son at Tennessee.
And not only is Sunday’s matchup missing a Kiffin, but it also is missing Davis.
For the first time in years — and Raiders officials could not remember the last time it happened — Davis did not make the trip with his team. Davis stayed behind in Oakland to continue resting knee and ankle injuries he suffered in a fall when the team played earlier this month in San Diego.
Since the fall, Davis has been in and out of the hospital to have his knee and ankle treated. He is said to be making a nice recovery. But his ankle injury was so bad that, when it first happened, doctors were concerned it was broken.
In recent weeks, Davis has been undergoing physical therapy and doctors thought he might have been able to make this trip to Tampa for the Raiders regular-season finale.
But at the last moment, they called an audible and suggested it would be better if Davis did not make the trip. Now, Davis will be watching his Raiders on TV.