Bad Credit

Lincoln Riley had a few bad losses, but not many of them

Did Lincoln Riley suffer heavy losses? Of course he has. He allowed a big lead against Kansas State at home to turn into a blistering loss for Oklahoma. He was ambushed by Iowa State. He lost to Texas in 2018 with a team that was significantly better.

Of course, Riley lost games his teams should have won.

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A viewer of our USC live show with Mark Rogers at The Voice of College Football remarked that Lincoln Riley is losing games he’s not supposed to lose.

Technically, narrowly, of course, he lost a few of those games…but that’s not a meaningful, salient, meaningful criticism. It is worthless.

First, every coach lost a game they were supposed to lose. Show me a coach who didn’t. Nick Saban? He lost to Texas A&M last year. He lost to Ole Miss several times when Hugh Freeze coached the Rebels. His Alabama teams have lost leads to Auburn on several occasions.

Dabo Swinney, Ryan Day, Pete Carroll, Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, John McKay, Ara Parseghian – they all lost games they should have won. No one is exempt from it.

When we say ‘a coach loses games he’s not supposed to’, the underlying point is that a coach regularly squanders opportunities and fails to make the most of his talent.

A good example: Scott Satterfield in Louisville. Scott Frost in Nebraska. Neal Brown in West Virginia. Chip Kelly at UCLA. These coaches regularly lose games that they shouldn’t lose. These trainers come in varying degrees of difficulty.

Lincoln Riley is yet to lose more than two games in a season as a college head coach. One of the two losses in most of those seasons was a college football playoff semifinal. Riley’s second loss of 2021 at Oklahoma was against an Oklahoma State team that nearly made the college football playoffs.

Talking points in an argument should be used in proper context and proportion. This Lincoln Riley talking point completely misses the mark. We explained it on The Voice of College Football: