After losing Bedlam to Oklahoma State for the first time since taking over as head coach in 2017, Lincoln Riley sat down in front of the media and made his intentions clear.
“Let me stop you right there,” Riley told members of the Oklahoma press crew. “I’m not going to be the next head coach at LSU.”
Technically, Riley isn’t lying. However, he shocked the sport by going west for a revival College footballThe preeminent power of the Pacific: USC Trojan. In doing so, he became the first Oklahoma coach to leave for another college job since Jim Tatum left the Sooners — which at the time had not yet won a national championship — for post-season Maryland. 1946. Obviously, times have changed.
The move sent shockwaves through the sport as natives of Muleshoe, Texas – population 5,000 – left for the bright lights of Hollywood. More than anything, his explosive decision could change the fates of three shows, two conferences, and countless others in between when suddenly Oklahoma reluctantly joined one of the coaching carousels. most competitive on record.
Riley’s addition turns the Pac-12
Since 2014, the year Oregon crowned the College Football League National Championship for the first time on the shoulders of Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, the Pac-12 has been in turmoil. The League hasn’t sent a team into the playoffs since 2016 (Washington), but perhaps more disappointingly, the league has barely placed teams in the top 10 of the playoff rankings consistently.
The league was missing a true blue-blooded candidate. That could change.
Riley’s arrival offers new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff something priceless: credibility. Riley won six consecutive Big 12 titles during her time as offensive coordinator and head coach with four top-five finishes and three playoff trips. He has a 55-10 record as head coach and CBS Sports poll ranks him 3rd out of all coaches, behind only Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney.
More importantly, Riley was quietly building a pipeline to Southern California. The Sooners hold commitments from 5-star defender Raleek Brown, 5-star defender Malachi Nelson and 5-star recipient Makai Lemon – All from SoCal. Nelson ceased operations upon learning of the news. Brown, a Mater Dei product, sent out a cryptic tweet after Riley made the decision he would most likely stay home.
In one fall, Riley gives the Pac-12 and USC everything it needs to survive.
However, the difference between the Pac-12 and the other four Power Five tournaments isn’t the level of solo play. Other tournaments with popular brands not only hit the ceiling but also hit the floor. When a fellow SEC team beats Alabama — even if it’s not the best Alabama team — it buys instant credibility. The same is true for a team that beat Oklahoma, Ohio State, or Clemson in other conventions.
It will take time for USC’s roster to reach that level of confidence, but playing against a Trojan team led by Riley will offer many of the same advantages. More importantly, Riley’s decision is an affirmation of the USC brand, thereby helping the Pac-12 succeed. While national college football has largely dropped in the league since former Trojans coach Pete Carroll left for NFLRiley just handed Pac-12 a large spoon to confirm.
Attention will also aid in finding the sport’s lifeblood: recruiting. Remember the 2020 quarterback recruiting class, when five-star Californian players Bryce Young, CJ Stroud and DJ Uiagalelei chose to jump cross-country flights, causing USC to leave USC with recruitment class 64 nationally? That didn’t happen with Riley at the conference. The more California stands out at home, the better the Pac-12 will be in the long run.
The timing couldn’t be worse for Oklahoma
Over the summer, Oklahoma announced shocking plans to leave the Big 12 for the SEC. There are a number of reasons for the move, but coupled with the financial hardship that such a decision brings, Riley’s ability to overcome some of his weaknesses – namely in defense and in the trenches with the SEC-recruited door — is an important motivator.
Instead, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione was faced with a shocking departure of his own. Now, instead of entering the SEC as a longtime Big 12 title winner and playoff participant, the Sooners are facing the toughest conference in college football history. with a new coach. With so many questions surrounding the 2022 team, Oklahoma may suddenly find itself joining the SEC.
The early years of a program’s tenure in a new conference can set the tone. Take a look at Texas A&M, which capitalized on one season of Johnny Manziel Heisman to become a popular national brand and mainstay in the SEC West race. In contrast, consider Nebraska, the once proud blue blood that disintegrated under Mike Riley and never recovered. Team Cornhusker won 3-9 in 2021, their worst season since 1957.
Oklahoma has many potential advantages over Nebraska, but competing with Alabama and LSU is still fundamentally harder than wrestling with Minnesota. The Sooners have been successful most of the time since college football took shape. This will be a new challenge, however, and impending questions can quickly become apparent with a hiring spree.
LSU may not be an automatic draw for elite coaches
When Texas and Oklahoma announced their intentions to join the SEC, the common logic seemed to be that it would pose a long way toward consolidation. But Riley didn’t just snub Oklahoma. He also turned down LSU.
It was Scott Woodward who lured legendary Boise State coach Chris Petersen to Washington and attracted Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M. Just this summer, Woodward recruited Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey to lead a show that ran last season 9-13. The important thing is, Woodward doesn’t miss. But despite having one of the strongest football programs in the sport at his disposal, he is getting closer than ever.
The new SEC has 9 of the top 12 most valuable programs in college athletics, according to Wall Street Journal. However, the USC has one big advantage that most new SECs won’t be able to reach: a more direct path to consistent success.
Ed Orgeron led the Tigers to the 2019 national championship with one of the greatest teams in college football history. Over the next two years, the Tigers went to 11-11 and he was fired. Les Miles led the program to the 2007 national championship and the 2011 national championship. Apart from those runs, he did not win a conference title.
You can become an LSU head coach with its perks. The last three coaches to lead the program won national championships, and it’s hard to believe Orgeron or Miles could have accomplished the feat elsewhere. Riley can definitely win the national championship in Baton Rouge. He’s also most likely going to win less than 10 games (apart from the 2020 pandemic shortening) for the first time. Suddenly, what seemed to be the best in the hottest inaugural season on the market became someone still looking for a coach as celebrity contenders signed megadeals to stay at their current jobs. surname.
At USC, Riley could compete for annual conference titles with Oregon and Washington and win playoff trips. In the end, he can win the national championship. At just 38 years old, the odds are in his favor.
While Riley is just a coach, perhaps the biggest young star in college football coaching choosing a more manageable route for the region to the national championship is a canary. in coal mining, especially against those outside the SEC’s jurisdiction. There’s nothing more exciting than being a part of the best league if you can’t beat the best.
https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/lincoln-riley-to-usc-what-the-hire-says-about-lsu-oklahomas-sec-move-and-the-pac-12s-future/ Lincoln Riley to USC: What tenants say about LSU, Oklahoma’s SEC move, and future of Pac-12