Lincoln Riley and Brian Kelly Hires Were Understandable – But They Come with Risks

This college football season has regaled us with surprises.

Clemson is barely in the College Football Playoff Top 25 rankings, and they won’t be playing for the ACC title. The would be Wake Forest and Pittsburgh (who called THAT matchup before the season?)!

There’s more. Cincinnati is poised to become the first Group of Five school to be included in the College Football Playoff. It’s currently ranked 4th, the highest ranking ever for a Group of Five school.

One more thing: not only did Michigan FINALLY beat Ohio State, they curb-stomped them.

However, the on-field surprises do not touch what transpired over the last couple of days.

Lincoln Riley and Brian Kelly are leaving their respective, stable jobs at Oklahoma and Notre Dame for USC and LSU, respectively.

Both will be paid rather handsomely. Riley will be paid over $100 million and Kelly will be paid at least $95 million, both over 10 years. So if you were to ask yourself, “why would those two cats leave their seemingly stable jobs for pressure cookers”, you know that money was a big part of it.

But I have concerns.

Riley knew that Oklahoma is headed to the SEC in a few more years, and he wanted no part of that beastly conference. Having to deal with Alabama, Texas A&M, Georgia, Florida, LSU and Auburn?

Nope. Riley gladly traded that for Oregon, Washington, UCLA, Stanford and the Arizona squads.

And as for Kelly, while I’m not worried about his recruiting prowess and his ability to X and O with the best of them — I’m worried about the FIT.

There were a couple of lean years at Notre Dame, along with some off-field controversies. If Kelly was rankled by the wine and cheesy Fighting Irish media, how in the hell will he deal with the crazy LSU media, fans and boosters with crazy-ass expectations?

Only time will tell.

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