The college football landscape is constantly changing but over the last few days, things have really changed. Lincoln Riley got everything started by surprisingly leaving Oklahoma for USC just one day after losing to Oklahoma State in the final game of the season.
Riley coached the Sooners to four Big 12 championships, three College Football Playoff appearances, all while having back-to-back Heisman winners and No. 1 overall picks in the NFL Draft. In five years at Oklahoma, Riley posted an overall record of 55-10 and 37-2 in Big 12 play. Despite all the success he's had over the last five seasons, bolting for USC may be a smart move. The PAC 12 is arguably the weakest Power Five conference and with USC being really the only blueblood on that side of the country, it presents a real opportunity for Riley to build a powerhouse in Los Angeles. Oklahoma is still in the Big 12 but won't be for long. They along with Texas will be headed to the SEC in the next two or three years which will make winning much more challenging.
One day later, news broke that Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly would be leaving South Bend after 12 years on the job to lead the LSU Tigers. What makes this even more interesting is that Notre Dame is still in a position to potentially make the College Football Playoff but will need some help this weekend. Can you imagine if Cincinnati falls to Houston this weekend, Oklahoma State loses to Baylor, and all of a sudden, the Fighting Irish are playing in the CFP without the head coach that led them there? That's unheard of. Unfortunately, this may become the new norm of college football. Money talks and college coaches are going to jump ship for that big bag of money regardless of when the offer is made.
West Virginia fans can relate after Rich Rodriguez left for Michigan back in 2007. Although the breakup between Rodriguez and WVU wasn't a clean one, it could have been even worse. Could you imagine if Rodriguez left before the Backyard Brawl? The outrage during that week would have been ten times worse than it turned out to be when the news actually came out.
Would WVU be able to keep their coach if they were to ever get back to where they were during the Pat White era? My money is on no. Not because they would be leaving for a bigger brand but because if a major program has their mindset on a coach, they will do whatever they have to do to get their guy. If guys like Riley and Kelly are leaving their respective programs, which are considered bluebloods by the way, what makes you believe a coach would stay at a school like West Virginia? Especially when you go back to the Rodriguez situation. Everyone saw Rich Rod as a son of West Virginia and viewed him as a lifer at WVU. When one of their own stabs them in the back, it's hard to imagine that anyone else would do any differently if that situation arose once again.
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