The 2021 college football season has created absolute carnage in the coaching ranks. A year after a lot of teams seemed willing to give coaches a pass due to the circumstances of playing under COVID restrictions and an odd season, patience has run out this season and some of the biggest jobs in the country have come open.
On Sunday, the University of Florida made the first move of the big schools, landing Billy Napier of Louisiana-Lafayette, the hottest name of the up-and-coming Group of Five coaches. That left USC and LSU as the two potential national powerhouse programs with vacancies, and they were going big name hunting from the Power 5 ranks. Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley has long been coveted by other big programs (and some NFL teams), but he shot down the idea he would be headed to Baton Rouge when asked about it on Saturday.
That apparently wasn’t because he was sticking with the Sooners long term, but because the Trojans had come calling and made him an offer he simply couldn’t refuse. Yahoo’s Pete Thamel brought word on Sunday afternoon that Riley was expected to be announced as USC’s next head coach within the next 24 hours once details on his contract were finalized, bringing a massive shakeup in the coaching carousel.
Expect an announcement on this in the 24 hours, per sources. The final details are being worked out. https://t.co/OqtP63a9Ml
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) November 28, 2021
That report was confirmed by Ryan Kartje of the LA Times.
Source: USC is finalizing a deal to hire Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley as its next head football coach.
— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) November 28, 2021
As is always the case with college football coaching hires, there is nothing guaranteed, but it sure seems like a terrific move by USC to swipe the coach of one of the perennial top programs in the country. That puts more pressure on LSU with its hire, now that the likes of Riley and James Franklin, who just inked a new 10-year deal, seem off the board. It also means Oklahoma is on the market, although it’s possible the Sooners just promote from within and make Alex Grinch the new head coach in Norman, keeping things in the Oklahoma family once again.