*DISCLAIMER ALERT* The writer of this piece is a diehard USC football fan. Her fandom may (absolutely will) cloud her judgement as a sports writer, but she deems this a judgement free zone for her remaining characters.
Since Pete Carroll abandoned the football program, USC has never been the same. Don’t even start with me about being No. 3 in the nation following a 10-3 season and an unlikely Rose Bowl win over Penn State. Our program was in shambles. We expect national titles, not Sam Darnold pulling magic out of thin air week after week.
Clay Helton was never a good coach, and his six seasons with us were far, far too many. In fact, one of the greatest moments of my life was when they fired Helton.
The singular greatest moment of my life, however, was when news broke of the program’s hire of Lincoln Riley with the icing on the cake that Brian Kelly left Notre Dame for LSU.
What people don’t understand is that being a USC fan isn’t simply watching the games. It’s in your blood. It’s tradition. It’s greatness. It’s being at the top. Walk the halls of John McKay Center and see all the titles, trophies, honors. It’s family. It’s loyalty. It runs deep.
Riley won four-straight Big 12 titles and 55 games in four seasons at Oklahoma, good for a winning percentage that ranks in the top five among college coaches ALL-TIME (.846).
He brings Trojans football home. Look around the game and you’ll see four of the top prospects in Southern California in the next two recruiting cycles were already inked to OU. The Sooners had No. 2-rated QB prospect in the class of 2023, Malachi Nelson of Los Alamitos, and he’s already decommitted. Any guess where he might be headed?
Five-star Mater Dei running back Raleek Brown, posted a tweet hinting at staying home following the news, too. Riley quietly and carefully built his pipeline to Southern California.
This is the kind of hire that changes the college football landscape. USC is about to be relevant again. The Trojans are headed back to dominance. We will finally return to being synonymous with Heismans (sorry Reggie), CFPs and Nattys.
Just wait for those 2022 odds to drop. Damn, it feels good to be back.