Make room on the hot seat for Lincoln Riley because his USC honeymoon is over

USC coach Lincoln Riley looks at the replay board during a 38-20 loss to rival UCLA at the Coliseum on Saturday. The Trojans ended the regular season losing five of their last six games. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Memo to Chip Kelly, the UCLA coach on the hot seat.

Scoot over.

Make room for Lincoln Riley.

The two men met Saturday in the crosstown rivalry, yet only one of their teams showed up.

Only one of their teams really cared about its biggest game of the season. Only one of their teams played with desperation, fought with fury, competed with heart.

It was the struggling team with the embattled leader who could be fired next week, not the privileged team with the glamorous boss who seemingly was just getting started.

It was the anonymous team that has spent years in the shadows, not the starry team with the buzz, the pedigree and a quarterback who last season won the Heisman Trophy.

It was UCLA 38, USC 20, in a game that wasn’t that close with a message that couldn’t be more clear.

Read more: UCLA pulls off a stunning win over USC, but is it enough to save Chip Kelly’s job?

Lincoln Riley, your honeymoon is over.

This awful loss is on you. This disappointing season is on you. The pulsating heat from a fan base that doesn’t accept mediocrity is now squarely on you.

Two seasons after arriving in town as a celebrated acquisition who was going to return the Trojans to greatness, Riley couldn’t even convince his team to play hard or smart against the most important opponent on its schedule.

Since going 11-1 to start his USC career, Riley is 7-7. Sink your teeth into that. Anybody have a number for Clay Helton?

Since tutoring Caleb Williams to a Heisman, Riley has basically ruined Williams’ encore season with a terrible defense, an underutilized running attack, and a series of big-game embarrassments.

Blown out at…

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Author : LA Times

Publish date : 2023-11-19 02:43:18

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