Everyone outside of USC wants to put a black hat on Lincoln Riley’s head

It’s very clear that Lincoln Riley has become a lightning rod since being hired as USC’s head football coach. Fans across the country have already made the decision to put the black hat on his head. He’s a versatile villain for various fanbases, and not just those inside the Pac-12.

Oklahoma fans were obviously unhappy with Riley after he left Norman. It’s completely understandable and contextually unique. OU fans were let down by Riley; their dissatisfaction is legitimate because Riley broke off this relationship when we did not expect it.

As for other fans, they’re just very sensitive to Riley’s position at USC and what that means in the larger workings of college football.

Pittsburgh became a central source of disgust with Riley. Jordan Addison, Pitt’s star receiver, hasn’t made a decision on where he will trade. Still, accusations of tampering and an ungodly outcry were directed at Riley. A “shoot first, ask questions later” approach governed this series of events.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News commented on this tendency to assign villain status to Riley:

Riley’s emergence as the head coach that fans nationwide love to hate is good for USC and good for the Pac-12.

As long as he doesn’t embarrass the school with NCAA rule violations or stupid comments (to the media or on social media), Riley can thrive at USC as a “bad guy” while the conference indirectly benefits from the attention.

We agree. When everyone hates a coach – it could be in any school or professional sports team – it’s clear that the coach is relevant and great and has inspired fear of their success and potential dominance.

This is where USC should be.

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