Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley’s not happy, and it has nothing to do with the College Football Playoff selection committee, who ranked the Sooners eighth in Tuesday evening’s playoff rankings. Riley’s beef is directed at Big 12 Conference rivals TCU and Texas Tech, both of which ousted their coaches mid-season, leaving Riley hungry for answers.
“I hope we can find a better solution than this because I’m afraid it’s going to become the trend,” Riley said during his weekly presser.
— Joey Helmer (@joeyhelmer247) November 2, 2021
Riley took time on Tuesday to address the unexpected in-season ousters of Texas Tech’s Matt Wells and TCU’s Gary Patterson, who were handed their walking papers within a week of one another.
“To see two guys out in midseason like that, one with a winning record and one is undoubtedly the greatest coach in the history of his school… Seeing Gary Patterson go out in the middle of the season is just — I don’t know what to think of it, man,” said Riley. “I was sick when I heard the news, to be completely honest. I know it’s a tough business. Our jobs are scrutinized and we’re big boys and can live with big-boy decisions. But man, what he did at that place and to not even finish out the year, I don’t know.”
Now in his fifth year as the Sooners’ head coach, Riley understands that these decisions are generally made to try and gain a leg up on the competition, but he can’t get behind the trend.
“It’s not good for our game, not good for our league,” Riley commented.
“If you’re asking maybe a reason why, I think everybody is scared they’re going to miss out on who they want to hire,” he added.
For TCU, that next hire will have Shaq-sized shoes to fill. Patterson spent more than 20 years with the Horned Frogs, accumulating a school-record 181 wins.
“Gary Patterson not finishing a season at a place he built? Man, that ain’t right,” said Riley.
Three Big 12 games remain on the Sooner schedule. Whether the same coaches who started the season will be standing on the sidelines opposite Riley remains to be seen.
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