New USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley is only 38 years old, but it's pretty tough to tell. He's already made three College Football Playoff appearances in his young career, and he's already won four Power 5 conference championships in his young career. He's done all of this in only one job (just five years).
It's why he's been at the top of head coach rankings seemingly the entire time he's been there. He's a top five guy for sure, and Brad Crawford of 247Sports has Riley even higher. He gave Riley the No. 4 spot on his 'Top 25 coaches entering 2022 season' ranking. The only three ahead of him were Nick Saban (first), Kirby Smart (second), and Dabo Swinney (third).
USC fans: You have a coach that is only ONE spot behind a two-time National Champion. Only ONE spot behind a coach who hasn't had under 10 wins since 2010. The fact that Riley isn't far from Swinney means everything for this program. Riley's story is VERY far from finished, and he's already approaching somebody with multiple rings and six College Football Playoff wins.
Brad Crawford sees a National Championship as a real possibility for USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley in the near future.
Here's what Brad Crawford had to say about USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley's next step in his career:
"Will Lincoln Riley be college football's next first-time national champion, following in the footsteps of Kirby Smart? He has a major opportunity at USC to win the first national championships of his career in the not-so-distant future after coming close with three College Football Playoff appearances over a five-year stint at Oklahoma."- Brad Crawford, 247Sports
He certainly has been on the cusp before. In fact, in his first College Football Playoff appearance, he took Georgia to two overtimes. And a guy who's only getting older and more experienced; giving him a better job (which he got this offseason) gives him the chance to see a Natty come to fruition.
After raving about Riley's offensive mind and transfer portal class he just brought to USC, he admitted that "If one had to pick a coach to win his first national title in the coming years, it would be Riley or (Ryan) Day." He even had Riley two spots ahead of Day, and a spot ahead of a past National Champion in Jimbo Fisher.
Is Riley going to win a Natty in Year 1? Obviously, the chances are very low. To see him in the same class as all these champions, though, shows that the Trojans are in good hands for the future. Heck, NFL teams have even wanted Riley for a few years now. The brightest offensive mind in football is ready to spark this turnaround for the Trojans in 2022.