When it comes to football, who cares about USC? When is the last time you worried about USC, or the Pac 12 when it comes to football? Well, you better start. Lincoln Riley will make them relevant, and more than likely a household word when it comes to the college football playoff. Does Brian Kelly really have a better path to a college football playoff with LSU than he did with the hallowed grounds of Notre Dame? Who will have a better chance to grab that brass ring as a head football coach in their current, or should I say, new position? To me it's a no-brainer....Lincoln Riley.
Lincoln Riley is entering a ready made success story for a college football blue-blood that is starving for success. The Clay Helton experiment was a disaster. The Trojans are a disaster right now. And it is so hard to explain. Look across the college football landscape. How many 5 star athletes are leaving California for other blue-bloods. Riley has to be licking his chops as he embarks on his latest adventure. He also has to be salivating at the fact that he no longer is facing the prospects of going through the SEC gauntlet that Brian Kelly will now have to endure with his new endeavor, LSU.
Southern Cal, for example, does not have to face Oregon or Washington in Riley's first year at the helm. They have Rice and a Fresno State team that has just lost its whole coaching staff to Washington. This is a ready made chance for Riley to hit the ground running, setting a winning culture in place at SC. He had to have looked at that while making his decision.
You can believe whatever you want, but the NCAA wants a team in their second largest media market to be relevant. Southern Cal will get the rockstar treatment that Notre Dame has gotten. Notre Dame is ranked sixth in the playoff rankings...they are marketable. Their name is giving them recognition, an added boost, regardless of their strength of schedule. Southern Cal will get that boost. They will get the national media falling all over themselves when they start winning, it's already starting. This is something that Notre Dame already has, and this is what makes it even more baffling that Brian Kelly left. Notre Dame gets that benefit of history and name recognition every year. Oklahoma is a blue blood, but there is no way they are going to go 11-1 in the SEC as frequent as USC will go in the Pac 12. And LSU will not go 11-1, or 12-0 as often as Notre Dame will, with Notre Dame and their lass daunting non-conference schedule, as compared to LSU having to face the SEC competition they do every single year.
Lincoln Riley is chasing something that Pete Carroll won almost two decades ago, a national championship. Riley is in a market that is shared with legendary pro football and baseball franchises, along with Showtime and Lebron. He will get more patience, though I don't think he will need it. Kelly is following Les Miles, Nick Saban and Eddie O, who all won championships in the past two decades. If he isn't in the playoff with in two years, the footsteps will be heard. Academics aren't the number one concern in Death Valley like they are in the land of the Golden Dome. Saturday night wins and pounding on Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Florida, and so on are the number one priority. Kelly has his work cut out for him. What does Riley have to contend with? Chip Kelly, ok...Oregon but not this year, schedule wise. Arizona? Really? Stanford? Cal? Wow...A no brainer...Riley to me will be hoisting that Chalice long before Brian Kelly. Enjoy the downtime of USC while you can....it's not going to last long.
MLB locked its players out at midnight last night, Thursday December 2nd, actually. First work stoppage in over 25 years, since the strike shortened season of 1994. Both sides pleading poverty, yet in the last week, agreeing to contracts for over $2 Billion dollars. Yes $2 Billion, with a B. Billionaires arguing with millionaires, and soon to be billionaires.
The crux of the argument will more than likely come down to service time of the younger players and when they can be eligible for a big payday. The current annual salary of mid tier free agents is also going to be a target point. It is currently going down each year since 2014. The players share of the pie of revenue is shrinking as well. The players are going to want to fix it. The sides are so far apart. They met for a total of seven minutes yesterday. No talks are set yet, at least in public knowledge. One GM said, "It's going to get real ugly for the mid-tier ball players!" With agents worried that they do not know whats going to happen for them, either.
The game has an image problem looming. They have a problem with games taking 4 plus hours. They have a problem with putting a runner on second base in extra innings. These are problems a salary cap or salary floor will not cure. The players feel they got hammered with the latest CBA. They are going to dig in. The owners will tell you that with COVID, they got hammered with losses.
Baseball has a huge dilemma with the younger crowd gaining interest in their game. Baseball's main demographic are people 45 and over. They cannot afford a work stoppage that goes into 2022. So that brings me to my big question. Do you really care if there is a work stoppage for MLB right now? NFL stretch run to the playoffs. College football playoffs, the bowl season. NBA, oh and the winter olympics. That may help hide the image of billionaires not being able to get along with multimillionaires fighting with each other. Regardless, MLB, please figure it out.
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