“Barring any unforseen snags,” writes the Knoxville News-Sentinel’s Dave Hooker (Al Quaeda strike on Rocky Top?), recently canned Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin (above) will return to the college ranks next season, confirming speculation the former USC assistant had been offered Phil Fulmer’s job earlier this week.

The University of Tennessee has agreed in principle with Lane Kiffin to become the Vols’ next head football coach, a well-placed source within the program has told the News Sentinel.

Kiffin will replace Phillip Fulmer who was forced to step down Nov. 3. Fulmer’s last game as head coach will be Saturday against Kentucky at Neyland Stadium. As recently as Wednesday, UT athletics director Mike Hamilton denied reports that he had offered Kiffin the job.

Kiffin, 33, was fired by the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 1 after compiling a 5-15 record in one-and-a-half seasons. His 2007 salary was $2 million.

He was an assistant at Fresno State from 1997-98 and Southern Cal from 2001-04; offensiver coordinator at Southern Call from 2005-06.