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It’s the song that never ends. It goes on and on, my friend.
Every time a head coaching vacancy comes open at a premiere program or with an NFL team, the Oklahoma Sooners head coach will get mentioned in concert.
It’s a story as old as… Well, as old as Lincoln, Riley’s been with the Sooners. At some point, the NFL or the other blue blood college football teams will come to grips with the reality that Lincoln Riley may not have been Sooner born or Sooner bred, but he’s a Sooner, and he’s a Sooner for the long-haul.
Of course, there’s a reason for other schools and NFL teams to want Riley. He developed three quarterbacks that started week one in the NFL, his top-notch recruiting classes, and his ability to maintain one of the best offenses in college football while turning over the most important position on offense four seasons in a row from Baker Mayfield’s last year to Spencer Rattler’s first.
Despite a seemingly down year in 2020, one where they lost two conference games and had to streak through conference play and get some help to win a sixth straight Big 12 championship, Riley remains one of the hot coaching commodities in all of football.
ESPN College Football analyst Joel Klatt put Lincoln Riley at the top of the list of head coaches that USC should call to gauge interest.
If I was @USC_Athletics AD I would make following coaches tell me NO before moving on
– Lincoln Riley
– Dabo Swinney
– Brian Kelly
– Urban Meyer
– Ryan Day
After that I would call the following
– Mario Cristobal
– James Fanklin
– Jeff Hafley
– Eric Bieniemy
– Josh McDaniels
— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) September 14, 2021
I mean, it’s a who’s who of college football coaches, and sure, USC would be wise to call every one of them to see if they’d be interested in a Jimbo Fisher powerhouse to powerhouse type move. But the reality is Lincoln Riley isn’t going anywhere.
USC has the makings to be a fantastic job. I mean, who wouldn’t want the chance to meet Snoop Dog. Despite the astronomical cost of living, the school has fantastic facilities, a rich tradition, some of the best uniforms in college football. It is the top program in one of the top recruiting hotbeds in the country.
It’s a big-time job in a big-time media market.
Oklahoma may not provide the same media market, but it has everything else that USC could offer including celebrities like Good Ole J.R. Jim Ross.
He has a chance to establish himself as one of the great Oklahoma Sooner head coaches, following in the line of Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer, and Bob Stoops.
Speaking of Stoops. If a Sooners connected coach was going to head to Los Angeles, it would be the one who’s already working there as part of Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff Show; Bob Stoops. It’s not likely, but it’s certainly within the realm of possibilities.
That said, Lincoln Riley’s had a shot at moving on to the NFL, and other big-time college jobs have come open, and he’s stayed. Lincoln Riley’s said it repeatedly that he wants to be in Norman and wants to coach the Oklahoma Sooners.
Could he leave one day? Absolutely. He’s a young head coach that’s had a ton of success and might one day decide that he’s ready for another challenge. Of course, with a move to the SEC on the horizon, the challenges will be plenty for Lincoln Riley and the Oklahoma Sooners.
So, with one of the best teams in college football in 2021, one of the best recruiting classes coming in 2022, and currently the top recruiting class in 2023 coming down the road. All the incentives are there for Riley to stay put in Norman.
If USC were to give Riley a ring to gauge his interest in the job, expect him to politely decline and then head back to the lab to come up with more ways to torment defensive coordinators.
Up next in his diabolical plans; the Nebraska Cornhuskers.