Social media clowns Lincoln Riley for continuing to run from the SEC

Some Oklahoma fans speculated the Lincoln Riley left OU before the school went to the SEC and now there's more proof that the former Sooners head coach has no interest in competing against the best conference in college football.
USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley
USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley / Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

There were plenty of reasons why Lincoln Riley left Norman, Oklahoma for Los Angeles, California, a lucrative contract chief among them. But there was always a feeling, especially from the Oklahoma fanbase that Riley’s departure had something to do with the program’s impending move to join the SEC. 

Riley had dominated the Big 12 during his five years as the head coach of the Sooners, winning the conference title four years straight and making the College Football Playoff in each of his first three years at the helm. Riley’s offense was imaginative and produced remarkable Heisman Trophy seasons from Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, but each year he was bounced from National Championship contention in the semifinals by an SEC team. 

Georgia needed overtime to defeat Riley’s Sooners in the 2017 Rose Bowl 54-48, Alabama took down OU 45-34 in the 2018 Orange Bowl, and LSU obliterated the Sooners 63-28 in the 2019 Peach Bowl. So, the Lincoln Riley conspiracy theorists can be forgiven for connecting the dots between Oklahoma’s leap to the best conference in college football and Riley’s decision to leave for the Pac-12. 

Those who believe that Riley is scared of the SEC were further entrenched in their stance by a report from Saturday Down South which revealed that Riley and USC have desperately trying to get out of playing LSU in Las Vegas to open the 2024 season. Fox Sports helped in USC’s efforts, uninterested in the school’s first game as a member of the Big Ten being broadcast on ABC/ESPN. 

Riley’s efforts reportedly went as far as backchannelling messages to Brian Kelly, LSU’s head coach, through their shared agent, Trace Armstrong. Well, fans have had a field day laughing at the former Oklahoma head coach. 

Life at USC will certainly be tougher with the program now in the Big Ten, but not as tough as Oklahoma’s gauntlet schedule in the SEC. 

On top of clowning Riley for his struggles to establish his new program, some Oklahoma fans are happy he left when he did. 

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