The Paul Finebaum Train Of “Loathing Lincoln Riley” Rolls On, “Most Historic Crash And Burns In History”

Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that ESPN College Football Analyst Paul Finebaum has a bit of sour grapes towards USC Football. Whatever the reason, he really doesn’t try to hide it. Now those sour grapes have turned vehemently against head coach Lincoln Riley.

When Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma for USC, Finebaum praised the hire, even suggesting that Riley would win a National Title with the Trojans.

Now, after one disappointing season (after Year 1 exceeded expectations with an NYE6 Bowl and a Heisman Trophy Winner), Finebaum is confident that Lincoln Riley will no longer be the coach of the USC Trojans after the 2024 season.

During an appearance on McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning, Finebaum spoke on Riley’s tenure at Southern Cal and then made his bold claim.

Paul Finebaum Speaks On USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley

“It’s not a matter of wishing him bad luck out there. That’s already happening. If you look at the reality, the number of players that are bailing on Lincoln Riley in Southern California… It’s startling.”

Say what you want about Lincoln Riley and the transfer portal, but when you make wholesale changes on your coaching staff, there are going to be a lot of players hitting the portal. This past offseason, USC saw 30 players hit the portal. For context, THE Ohio State football program saw 25 players hit the portal. The University of Florida saw 24 players hit the portal. And the ever-praised University of Georgia had 24 players hit the portal.

So is this really all that startling?

Related: USC Trojans 2025 Recruiting Tracker

Finebaum goes on.

“I’ve always thought he was a really good coach, especially on the offensive side. But I don’t think anyone today views him in that same realm. Quite frankly, I think he’ll be out at Southern Cal at the end of the season.”

Jim Harbaugh went 8-5 in his 3rd season at Michigan with a loss in the Outback Bowl. This is an apples-to-oranges defense, but it’s pretty blasphemous to say that no one views someone as a good coach anymore after one disappointing season.

Finebaum continued.

“It’s a matter of whether it crashes and burns or whether he just decides he’s gotta seek elsewhere,” Finebaum continued. “I don’t think there’s any way he’s going to be successful out there.

I think that train has pulled out of the station, and if indeed that happens, this is one of the most historic crash and burns in the history of modern college football.

Aside from everything I said above, there are so many holes in all of these statements, including the financial aspect of it all.

But this is to be expected from Finebaum at this point. One thing is for sure, USC Football is certainly back in terms of being used for engagement farming. Embrace the power USC Fans!