In 2005, USC Football played Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game (Orange Bowl), and beat them senselessly by a hilarious and famous score of 55-19. The Sooners' Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator who gave up all those points to USC was Brent Venables.
16 years later, OU Head Coach from 2017-2021, Lincoln Riley left for the better USC program. This left OU with no choice but to bring back Venables and hope he would stop giving up 55 points in games. Unfortunately for them, however, Venables' defense gave up 55 on Saturday to an unranked TCU team.
The humiliating, 31-point loss is their second straight loss, and both losses were to unranked teams (Kansas State was unranked at the time of their victory). In fact, the KSU loss was even at home.
Since Riley has left Oklahoma, OU has mightily struggled, despite their fans claiming that Riley is actually a poor coach who was holding them back. (I would know, as I even found them in my Twitter mentions as recently as just before their Kansas State loss.) It has proven to be the opposite, actually, as little has gone right for OU since Riley left for a job upgrade.
First, Oklahoma was ravaged by USC Football in the transfer portal after Lincoln Riley left.
Coming into this season, Oklahoma had to replace many of their top players who left via the transfer portal. Interestingly, two of their four-star transfers (Latrell McCutchin and Mario Williams) and their five-star transfer (Caleb Williams) left their program for USC Football. Oklahoma learned how great Lincoln Riley truly is at roster-building very quickly.
They even saw USC finish with a better overall recruiting class (No. 6 in the country) than OU's class (No. 10 in the country), despite Riley not going to USC until after the season. This was also with SC having a class outside the top 100(!) before Riley came through (all recruiting rankings in article are as of 247Sports). Sure enough, OU then came into the season and has really struggled.
They are now 3-2 on the year, with their only wins being against cupcake competition (UTEP at home, Kent State at home, and Nebraska). They are sure to drop out of the AP Poll now, and have been horrific on defense these past two weeks despite hiring who they touted as a 'defensive guru' who would be better for them overall than Riley.
It's especially interesting to see how well Riley is doing at his new spot. He still hasn't lost a game, and has coached up a defense that's forced 15(!) turnovers on the season. They are ranked No. 6 in the nation, and Riley is yet to give up over 28 points in a game. OU has actually done that twice, and again gave up 55(!) this week. SC has outscored their opponents by a combined score of 211-98.
It's safe to sat that Riley made the right move to get out of USC. Oklahoma surely misses him right now, and it will be up to Venables to turn that ship around. It he is to turn it around, one thing is for sure, and that's that it will all have to start with his defense.