Then-Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley and the Sooners celebrate after defeating Baylor in the 2019 Big 12 championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Ron Jenkins / Getty Images)
A home run. A half-court buzzer-beater. A game-winning Hail Mary. A hallelujah.
In the waning days of its worst football season in three decades, USC has pulled off the play of the year, defying all expectations, bucking conventional wisdom, making a miracle happen.
Did the Trojans really just hire Lincoln Riley? Pinch me.
Is their football team really going to be coached by arguably the brightest young football leader in the country? Revive me.
When USC fired embattled Clay Helton in the second week of September, Rick Caruso, the chairman of the USC board of trustees, promised to acquire “a world-class coach who will return the USC football program to the most competitive and highest levels of collegiate football.”
In a stunning Sunday morning maneuver by athletic director Mike Bohn and his chief of staff Brandon Sosna, the Trojans smartly sidestepped a passel of fresh faces and recently hot names to lure a 38-year-old offensive guru who has spectacularly been there and done that.
In Riley’s five years at Oklahoma, the Sooners have gone 55-10 with three appearances in a four-team College Football Playoff that has thus far eluded the Trojans.
In four of those five seasons, the Sooners finished in the top seven in the final Associated Press poll, while USC has not finished in the top seven in the final Associated Press poll even once in the last 10 years.
This is more than just the right coaching hire, this might be the most right coaching hire in USC football history.
“Today is all about the importance and impact of leadership,” said Caruso, who cited President Carol Folt as the driving force behind the move. “Dr….