- Paul Finebaum shares his thoughts as to why Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma for the USC job.
- The ESPN analyst was shocked with the move, just like most college football fans were.
- Be sure to check out more sports stories at Brobible here.
Paul Finebaum, just like the vast majority of college football fans and media members out there, was shocked by the news of Lincoln Riley leaving Oklahoma for the head coaching job at USC.
Riley’s name had consistently been in the rumor mill whether it was him leaving college football for the NFL or specifically being a candidate for the vacant LSU job. He hadn’t really been linked at all to the USC job, but he’s now headed to Los Angeles in one of the more surprising coaching moves in recent memory.
Finebaum didn’t see Riley’s move to USC coming, either, if anything, he thought if he was going to leave for another college coaching job it would be to LSU.
“I was equally stunned Greg and the hot rumor was Lincoln Riley to LSU as you guys know,” Finebaum told ‘McElroy and Cubelic In The Morning.’ “I think when you look at it, in his mind, you’re looking into going into a tougher situation than you have now in a brutal league. And you say to yourself, ‘I think I could win just as easily at Oklahoma’ and I’m not surprised by that part of it.
I don’t know where USC was, they’ve done a good job of just literally leading everybody in the wrong direction.”
Most fans immediately made the assumption that Riley made the decision to leave for USC because he was afraid to coach in the SEC with Oklahoma’s move to the toughest conference in college football approaching in the near future.
Finebaum isn’t buying that, however.
“I like the move and I don’t necessarily subscribe to the predictable, ‘He was afraid of the SEC,’ I don’t believe that,” Finebaum explained.
“I think he had to factor in the challenge of the SEC, but when you can go to a school that has a top 5 tradition in college football history and by the way he’s already at one of those, and feel like you probably have a better chance of winning the national championship going there than where you are, then I think that’s a good decision.”
There is no arguing that USC’s path to the college football playoff is much easier than Oklahoma’s is, both now in the Big 12, and when the Sooners bolt for the SEC.
Finebaum also makes a strong point in stating that USC is a top-five tradition in college football, which is also a fact. With the NIL world still very young, too, Riley could benefit mightily being the head coach of the Trojans over the next couple of years.