When Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma for the USC Football head coaching job, the immense anger that the entire state of Oklahoma had did not go unnoticed. They even had a governor randomly take a shot at Lincoln Riley during a speech (and got hilariously clowned for it), and they even had a Senator propose a bill to name three inches of an Oklahoma highway after Riley.
Not only that, but the fan base also SWORE that Riley was actually holding the program back and that they were actually better off without him.
They were triggered by every single thing that Riley ever posted on social media or said, and took major offense to anything FS1 TV host and USC superfan Colin Cowherd posted on social media or said as well. It was a rough offseason for Sooner fans, but they swore that Brent Venables (who they hired to replace Riley) was the better coach and would catapult the defense to the next level.
Now, they are just having a rough season, without being able to say that. Because it has proven to be horrifically wrong. Oklahoma just lost AGAIN this past Saturday, somehow losing to 4-6 West Virginia. They are now 5-5 on the season without Riley.
Their absolute WORST season they ever had with Riley was last year, where they went 11-2 with a top 10 final ranking...Again, they are 5-5 in their first taste without Riley...OU has not had a worse season than what they are having so far since 1998, when they went 5-6. John Blake was the head coach back then. That's how long ago it was. OU is in shambles in their first year without Riley.
To make matters worse for them, Lincoln Riley and USC Football were 9-1 and ranked inside the top eight of the country when OU lost on Saturday.
USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley's departure from Oklahoma for a better job has hurt the Sooners on both sides of the ball. Last year, Oklahoma's defense gave up 25.8 points per game. Without Riley and Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch this year (who left to take the same coaching position at USC with Riley), they are giving up 29.1(!) points per game.
OU fans swore Venables would turn the Sooners into a great defense, and they've actually regressed significantly. Venables' defense looks a lot like the defense that the Trojans TORCHED in the 2004-2005 National Championship game. They beat OU down 55-19, in one of the funniest National Championship beatdowns in college football history.
What's even more hilarious is that the defense USC put up 55 points against in that game was indeed coached by Venables, who was the Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers Coach, and Assistant Head Coach for OU back then. But it's not just the defense that has taken a nosedive since Riley left Norman. The offense has taken an even greater step back.
Last year under Riley, OU scored 39.1 points per game. This year without Riley, they've scored 31.9. This all of course stings even more for Oklahoma, as they watch USC improve significantly on both sides of the ball with Riley, instead of regress significantly like the Sooners without Riley.
USC went from scoring 28.7 points per game last year to 42.4(!) this season. The type of coaching that Riley has done this year with USC has been nothing short of phenomenal. SC has also improved significantly on defense too, going from allowing 31.8(!) points per game last year to 24.4 points per game this year.
USC taking the type of step forward that they've taken since adding Riley as the head coach has been monumental. Oklahoma taking the type of step backward that they've taken since Riley left their head coaching position confirms how amazing Riley really is as a coach.
The WORST record USC can finish with this season is 9-3. The BEST record Oklahoma can finish with this season is 7-5. Lets that sink in. RIley has answered their doubts about him perfectly this year.