By Leo Haggerty


A quick Editor’s Note before I begin.  As you observed in Rob Kriete’s column, he will be taking a well-deserved week off from his column next week.  Paul Wales is taking his this week so I’m filling in for him with a SCREAMIN’ FROM THE CHEAP SEATS piece.

Also, I’ve backed the Lightning Recap up a day because of my problem.  I developed a serious inner ear infection on Sunday and I have not been able to hear since then.  The doctor believe that will come back after the antibiotics take effect but right now it’s baby steps.

Because of that, I haven’t been able to transcribe the coach and player quotes.  Look for that later this week and thanks for understanding and I hope you enjoy this insertion.

When Oklahoma HC Lincoln Riley chose to go West and accept the Head Coaching position at the University of Southern California. a lot of suppositions were brought forth as to why he traded in Boomer Sooner for Traveler.  In my humble opinion, there were two reasons he’s now a Trojan.

The first and the most important was, plain and simple, money.  USC made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and the financial stability it would provide him and his family would be compared to hitting the lottery.  This was a no brainer.

The second was his prominent recruiting area had just shrunk considerable.  USC is the Miami of the West.  All the Hurricane coaching staff has to do is convince five of the best 10 players in Dade County to stay home and come to the campus Coral Gables.  Grab the rest out of the football talent-rich state of Florida and you’ll be constantly in the national championship conversation.

Same for USC.  Build a wall around Orange County, like HC Pete Carroll did in the past, and get three to four 5-star recruits a year to stay and play for the Trojans.  Fill out the rest of your recruiting class with athletes from California which is also laden with high-level pigskin prospects.  Then sit back and wait for players across the country to contact you and reap the benefits of becoming relevant every year in the CFP discussions.

Now, with all that being said, here’s the one scenario that I feel is blatantly false.  Riley left because he didn’t want to compete in the Southeastern Conference.  That’s hogwash and here’s why.

First, it looks like the CFP will expand, much to my displease, but that’s another topic for another column.  All that does is open up more opportunities for SEC teams to go to the 12-team CFP.

Second, the SEC is going to have to realign.  It will be very interesting to see how that transpires with 16 teams.

If they stay East and West, look at what will happen.  The West will now be Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma LSU, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi and Mississippi State.  The East will now become Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Auburn and Alabama.

If that happens, the Sooners would be coming into a conference where the two yearly powerhouses, Georgia and Alabama, are in the other division.  You’ll only see them once every eight years.  I’ll take that, wouldn’t you?

So, let’s tie this up, shall we?  Riley left for one major reason and that was money.  Let’s stop putting any other hypothesis out there because it doesn’t fly so just drop the mike.