New USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley continues to cement himself as one of the top villains in college football and it gets even more and more amazing as the days go by. That's because Riley has not done anything wrong, although many odd people have accused him of that with no proof.
He's simply dominated the offseason after he left his previous position for an objectively better job upgrade, and people don't know how to handle USC being back on the track to a return to dominance. This time, the comments that OU fans and some others in general are upset about are even more of a nothing-burger.
Riley recently did an interview with CBS Sports, where he discussed many things--ranging from why he took the job over at USC to what it was like landing Jordan Addison in the transfer portal. He also spoke about how there is no better place to build a roster than at USC.
""I've walked into four playoffs, and I've never had better than maybe the third-best roster [of the four teams]...Every other year, we were four of four. We had really good rosters, but they weren't the same. … I can't imagine that there could be a setting that we could build a better roster than we can here.""- Lincoln Riley, USC Football Head Coach
Didn't find anything wrong with what Riley just said? Congratulations! You are normal! There were, however, some that somehow took issue to what Riley said, despite them always being the ones that claim that Riley can't both bring in and develop good players on the entire defensive side of the ball.
USC Head Coach Lincoln Riley seemed to trigger the whole state of Oklahoma with his non-controversial comments.
It's very odd that people claim that USC Head Coach Lincoln Riley was trying to stir the pot with these comments, yet here we are. All he was saying is that it's easier to build a roster at a program like SC that has a much greater tradition than Oklahoma, is located in arguably the top hot bed of high school talent in the country, and in a major market that blows up whenever USC is winning. People out in OK, though, randomly decided that he was trying to take shots.
What did he say that was so horrible? He's right. Look at some of the teams he PLAYED in the Playoff. He played Georgia the first year, who has recently become one of the top four states in high school recruiting talent available. They were bound to have a better roster than a school from a place like Oklahoma that doesn't have anywhere near the high school talent that Georgia has in its backyard.
He played LSU in the CFP two years later. Louisiana is typically in or near the top five in most blue chip recruits in the country. Now that he's at USC, he'll have at WORST the fourth-best backyard every year to recruit talent from. He'll also have more tradition to lean on when trying to build through the transfer portal or traditional recruiting as well as a more attractive market that the players and program will be spotlighted in.
Then, there were people upset because they claimed it was only Riley's fault that the roster wasn't as good as the 2017 Georgia's of the world and the 2019 LSU's of the world, and that OU wasn't holding him back at all.
This article just explained how it's much easier to build a roster at USC than it is at OU, so I won't get into that again. I will, however, point out another way in which comments like the above tweet and others of similar nature are straight ludicrous.
The way I will do that is by pointing to the roster that Riley has built ever since he left OU and headed to the Trojan program. He took a program that was well outside the top 100 in the overall recruiting rankings for 2022, and improved them to the No. 6 class in the entire nation.
Keep in mind that he signed with USC AFTER the regular season ended. That's how quickly he accomplished this feat. Caleb Williams anyone? Jordan Addison? Anybody remember Domani Jackson? These are all five-star transfers/recruits that Riley scooped up after going to SC with very little time to do it.
A narrative suggesting it was solely the fault of Riley's that OU's rosters were in the bottom half of the CFP rosters in the years he made it is just delusional. Look what he's done with the situation he's been given ever since he left Oklahoma in little time.
Anyways, the hypocrisies never ended on the internet. An Oklahoma radio host even claimed that Riley was actually "HANDED the keys to a Mercedes," yet in the same exact sentence then pointed to two Heisman players that were Heismans not under Bob Stoops but under Riley himself...
Sure, Baker Mayfield was a very good quarterback under Stoops, but was he tossing 43 touchdowns? Nope. Was he only throwing six picks? Nope. Was he averaging 11.5 yards per pass? No, he wasn't--nor did he record 12.9 adjusted yards per pass attempt. And no, by the way, he wasn't throwing for 4,627 passing yards and winning a Heisman.
He did all of the above the very year Riley took over. He also averaged 3.2 yards per carry once Riley took over. He didn't even hit 3 before Riley was the coach there. So if it was a "coaching issue not a roster issue," why was Riley able to get more out of Mayfield than the previous coach who "HANDED" Riley "the keys to a Mercedes"?
Also, what about the other overall number one NFL pick he mentioned? Kyler Murray wasn't even on the field for Stoops for one single snap. Riley was literally the one who developed him from a backup quarterback at Texas A&M to a Heisman winner as soon as Baker left.
People are really refuting Riley's comments by...bringing up how the best players on the teams were improved and/or developed by Riley? The whole "Mercedes" comment doesn't even make sense anyway. The team didn't make the CFP the year before Riley got there, and two of the three years before he got there (the first three years of the CFP's existence). One of those three years, the team didn't even finish the year ranked.
In each of Riley's first three years on the job, they went to the Playoff. They won the Big 12 every year, and they won the next Big 12 title too. Riley also took Georgia to two overtimes in that first Playoff. In OU's playoff before Riley got there, they got smacked up by 20.
The people who hate Riley have no idea how contradictory their own takes are about it. It does, however, make for many laughs that USC fans have been able to experience along the way. Riley has already established himself as a villain and he hasn't even played a game yet. Trojan fans can't wait for when the team actually gets playing and the takes will get even more hysterical.