Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley headed to Southern California

Oklahoma Sooners coach Lincoln Riley shut down speculation that he was leaving to become the head coach of the LSU Tigers on Saturday night, but it appears as though it’s because he’s heading to Los Angeles instead. According to Yahoo’s Pete Thamel, the USC Trojans are working out the final details of a deal with Riley and expect to announce the hire soon. Bruce Feldman of The Athletic later confirmed the news.

Matt Zenitz of On3Sports reported Sunday that Riley has already informed his Oklahoma staff that he intends to fill USC’s coaching vacancy.

Riley, 38, compiled a 55-10 record after he was promoted by Oklahoma from offensive coordinator to head coach in 2017. The team won the Big 12 in each of his first four seasons, but missed out on a trip to the conference championship in 2021 after losing to both Baylor and Oklahoma State in November. The Sooners went to the College Football Playoff in each of Riley’s first three seasons as head coach and won the Cotton Bowl in 2020.

The hire is a huge coup for USC, which has struggled to find consistent success since Pete Carroll left to become the Seattle Seahawks coach in 2010. The Trojans cycled through Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian and Clay Helton as head coach in the last decade.

USC finished the 2021 season with a 4-7 record, marking the fewest wins for the program since 1991.