Mike Farrell is higher on USC football entering the future than plenty of college football writers around the nation are. He totally whiffed, however, on his Pac-12 coaches ranking. He somehow doesn't have Lincoln Riley as his top head coach in the conference:
Yes, he has Utah's Kyle Whittingham as the number one coach in the Pac-12. Whittingham, who couldn't even top Riley's season last year despite last year being the worst season of Riley's career.
The worst season of Riley's career was a year where Oklahoma still finished in the top 10. Whittingham certainly didn't finish in the top ten last year, and also had THREE losses before their Bowl loss.
Riley has not once finished outside the top ten in his entire head coaching career (five years), and the most losses in a year he's ever had was two losses in a year. Whittingham had his best year of the past five years, finishing 12th in the nation with a Pac-12 Championship.
That BEST year for Whittingham still had him finish lower than USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley in his WORST year.
New USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley has been in the College Football Playoff three times in his five-year coaching career. Whittingham hasn't even finished ranked three times in the last five years. He's been a head coach for every CFP and hasn't made it once.
While Riley's five straight years of only two losses in each season and top 10 poll finishes every year is the definition of consistency, Whittingham has not only never finished in the top 10 in consecutive seasons, but he has also not finished in the top 10 more than once in his entire 17-year career.
Despite being a head coach for over three times the time Riley has, he has never had the five-year top 10 streak Riley has, or even a five-year top 25 streak. Or a four-year top 25 streak for that matter--the most amount of seasons Whittingham has finished in the top 25 consecutively is three years. And that streak ended six years ago.
The only time Whittingham has finished above his 2021 No. 12 ranking was 14 years ago. Riley did it last year, and every single year he's been coaching. Despite coaching for 12 more years than Riley, Whittingham has just two more top 25 finishes than him.
Whittingham has also had three or more losses every single year he has been in a Power 5 conference. Riley has not done that a single time. Riley has won four Power 5 conference championships in his five years. Whittingham has one.
While it is true that Whittingham is a very good coach and does a lot with a little at a program like Utah, one can't jump him over Riley due to the benefit of the doubt that he would do more than Riley at an elite program.
Plenty of coaches have not been able to find success with a blueblood and/or a near blueblood after excelling at a smaller program.
Scott Frost has been an embarrassment at Nebraska. Kevin Sumlin fell off a cliff after one year at Texas A&M. Tom Herman accomplished very little at Texas. Luke Fickell has done an exceptional job at Cincinnati, but went 6-7 at Ohio State.
Riley has been dominant his entire career, and boasts a 55-10 record as a coach. Whittingham has only put together one elite season and it was in 2008. Whittingham is easily a top two coach in this conference, but he needs more lines on his resume to be ahead of Riley.
Sure, many can't help but beg the question of how well Whittingham would do at a big program, but it's already evident what Riley can do at a big program in 12 less years of experience. That's the case for a reason.