The Oklahoma Sooners faithful have been a little sore about Lincoln Riley ever since he left to become the head coach of the USC Trojans. Former Sooners coach Bob Stoops shared that he was “disappointed,” Big 12 commish Bob Bowlsby chimed in about character, and an Oklahoma state senator wanted to name a tiny section of a desolate highway after the departed coach.

Things didn’t get much nicer when some former Sooners started showing up on the USC roster following a trip through the transfer portal. Chief among them was Caleb Williams, the would-be starting quarterback for Oklahoma who’ll now be the Trojans signal-caller. Former Oklahoma wide receiver Mario Williams followed Caleb to SoCal and 4-star cornerback Latrell McCutchin quickly entered the transfer portal and announced he’d play for Riley as well.

Riley broke a lot of unwritten rules when he left Oklahoma for USC, at least in the eyes of Sooners fans. Riley tried to defend himself on Tuesday during an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, though his explanation probably just made Sooners fans hate him even more.

“We didn’t take players from Oklahoma. We took players from the transfer portal,” Riley said. “Those players and their families had to make a decision to stay at that university … or to enter the portal where they could be recruited by anybody.”

Obviously, the way that Riley is trying to spin all of this feels a bit disingenuous. Of course, those Oklahoma players entered the transfer portal knowing that the guy who recruited them would love to continue coaching them at his new school. They didn’t just transfer and happen to end up at USC as if they had no idea Lincoln Riley was now the coach there. Not to mention none of them would likely even be in the transfer portal had he not left in the first place.

And based on the reactions to the appearance, it doesn’t appear that anyone is buying Riley’s transfer portal theory.

For their part, USC fans and national media are kinda appreciating the heel turn.

The shame of it is that Riley’s deflection puts some of the anger that is being directed on him onto the players, who are just doing what they think is best for themselves.

All we know is, if USC and Oklahoma ever end up playing one another while Riley is still coaching the Trojans, it is going to be a whole thing.

[Antonio Morales]

About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.