Did Lincoln Riley Just Replace Kevin Durant As Cupcake?

I have to give this some serious thought today as OU is holding a presser later today at Gaylord Memorial Stadium to discuss Lincoln Riley’s sketchty exit from one of the iconic programs in the country to basically avoid coaching in the big boy SEC conference.

I never booed Kevin. I never will. His exit to leave the Thunder I can defend to a certain extent because Kevin stayed with the Thunder for a decade, endured Russell Westbrook’s worst inner basketball instincts for that same period of time, and had to come to the final realization Sam Hinkie-Presti was never going to add a shooting guard to the team who could actually shoot a basketball.

So Kevin left to join the Warriors and the rest is basketball history as Kevin with the Splash Brothers won two rings and two MVP Finals trophies.

I defend Kevin’s decision on my blog now although at the beginning I’ll admit I was stung by his decision.

I’m not at all stunned Lincoln is headed to USC. In fact…I actually recommended he take the job several weeks ago after the pathetic performance in Waco after having two weeks to prepare for that game.

Like Dennis Dodd wrote this morning…even in today’s world… hedge fund managers usually at the least give two weeks notice, but not the case with Lincoln Riley. It is what it is. But he’s still not a traitor in the world of college football. Just a survivor.

Here’s another thing….Kevin was a free agent and fulfilled his contract to the extent of what he signed on for in Oklahoma City. His decision was based on the fact he didn’t think Sam Hinkie-Presti had the overall breadth as a general manager to reign in Russell Westbrook and put a championship roster together in Oklahoma City.

Not the case with Lincoln. He just doesn’t want to play Georgia, Alabama, LSU and the rest of the SEC underworld. He and his agent would like to moetize the next twenty years to the max. Lincoln was 1-3 verus the SEC and his only win came against a Florida team coached by Dan Mullen which was missing the heart of its lineup in the Cotton Bowl.

As far as Kevin in basketball historical hindsight …. Kevin was absolutely correct in that Sam Hinkie-Presti appears to still not get it as far as the fact you actually need some players on your team who can shoot a basketball.

Now to Lincoln Riley’s sketchy exit to USC. I think SoCal is a fascinating iconic program with a lit fight song and beautiful cheerleaders. I’m fine with him leaving because in all candor I don’t think Lincoln has the overall mental toughness to coach in the SEC week to week. He’s a young head coach never took a job like Matt Campbell at Iowa State did and then made it respectable.

He never had to do what Shane Beamer just did at South Carolina by turning a 2-8 type program into a bowl eligible 6-6 team in one year.

He never had to do what Mark Stoops has done at Kentucky with a program and culture overall to be a competitive 9-3 team in the SEC.

He never had to do what Bob Stoops did in 1999 when he inherited the OU program from John Blake.

Now here’s what I’m going to do. I have to take my lab Pauli to the vet this morning. I’m going to halt this post right now for the time being.

I’m back.

So what did Lincoln Riley inherit at OU from Bob Stoops and Joe C?

He inherited a program which in 2016 made the College Football Playoff and had Baker Mayfield at QB with Kyler Murray redshirting after his transfer from Texas A&M.

He had the triumvirate of David Boren, Joe C, and Bob Stoops to lead him and at the same time make sure the program was intact.

This is where my word usage is critical. Do I think Lincoln Riley is a traitor?

No.. I do not. I think Lincoln is a calculating coach who inherited a plum job at OU whose teams at OU have played soft for the most part when they’ve played against teams with equal or better talent.

You could say Lincoln is a bit soft and has had a protected coaching environment in Norman, But I’m not calling him a traitor. In this world of college football Bin Laden wouldn’t be a traitor.

This is the critical part in evaluating Lincoln’s exit and eventual legacy. During his time in Norman he’s only been an underdog in two road games. The 2017 game in Columbus and this past Saturday when his team was a 4.5 road underdog in Stillwater.

Keep this in mind as well… Lincoln and Coach Luke at Cincy have the same agent. Surely this agent isn’t going to double down and now bring Coach Luke to Norman? Think about and how dirty college football has become.

Another reason I’m not calling anybody a traitor is OU can’t in any way question someone else’s loyalty after what just happened with the SEC move.

The current world of college football is a dog eat dog business. Survival of the fittest. Coach Luke at Cincy, although not on my list is someone we need to be watching this week as the college football four team bracket is announced. This is better than Al Pacino taking Willie Beamon with him to his new job and basically telling Cameron Diaz to stick it between her legs.

So in reality it’s better Joe C found this out now rather than later. OU needs to have a coach in place by Saturday morning is my take. Maybe schedule the presser right before Gameday before the conference championship games. Control the national narrative to recruits across the country. So right there you have to figure maybe Luke Ficknell at Cincy may not be in play at this juncure and that’s why I haven’t listed him as of yet. I believe every other coach I mentioned save Dave Arvanda at Baylor isn’t playing on Championship Saturday. Plus, Alex Grinch will be announced as the new defensive coordinator at USC later today.

So in the end will I classify Lincoln Riley as a cupcake or a traitor? No. Neither. Of course not. He’s a calculated opportunist…pretty much like everyone else in college football.

But by the same token Lincoln Riley will never be considered an iconic coach at OU. Oklahoma is the one program in the country which has had four different coaches pass the 100-win plateau. Those names being Owens, Wilkinson, Switzer, and Stoops.

Lincoln’s place in OU football history will fall behind Chuck Fairbanks who coached OU to the ’71 Game of the Century vs. Nebraska then followed that with a Big 8 championship in ’72 before taking the New England job in the NFL.

Will this last long with me as far as Lincoln leaving OU?

It won’t affect me at all and like I’ve written on here I think it would be wise to hire someone who at the very least who has been a coordinator in the SEC.

If Joe C and Bob Stoops had just moved to USC with Lincoln…then I’d be in a very concerned state of mind this morning.

Coach Stoops, would you please do something for me? Please call Joe Brady and explain to him how special it is to coach football at OU….even if only as one of the highest paid coordinators in the country.

I’m disappointed Lincoln didn’t give the SEC a chance, but maybe this tells us something about his competitive soul or therein lack of. And if you don’t posess an alpha competitive soul you shouldn’t be coaching in the SEC.

So in closing…no traitors, no cupcakes, just the world we live in.

Life moves on. Que sera.


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