USC Trojans Head Coach Lincoln Riley Named To 2024 Dodd Trophy Preseason Watch List

Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of talk about USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley this offseason. After a very disappointing 2023 campaign, the pitchforks have come out, and his biggest critics (and some former allies) have begun to question if the four-time Big 12 Champion can still coach.

Most recently, ESPN college football analyst, Paul Finebaum, went so far as to say that Lincoln Riley will no longer be the coach of USC at the end of this season.

“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.”

The part that stood out most…”But I don’t think anyone today views him in that same realm.”

Well, not but a few days later, Lincoln Riley secured a spot on the preseason watch list for the 2024 Dodd Trophy, presented by PNC Bank. This announcement comes from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Peach Bowl, Inc.

Lincoln Riley Nominated To 2024 Dodd Trophy Preseason Watch List

NCAA Football: Holiday Bowl-Louisville at Southern California | USC Trojans Head Coach Lincoln Riley
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Related: The Paul Finebaum Train Of “Loathing Lincoln Riley” Rolls On

The Dodd Trophy, managed by Peach Bowl, Inc. and sponsored by PNC Bank, is the most prestigious national coaching award in college football. It honors a head coach who excels not only on the field but also emphasizes scholarship, leadership, and integrity—the three core principles of legendary coach Bobby Dodd’s philosophy.

A coach that was not viewed in the same realm as in previous years would not be nominated for this prestigious award. 2023 was a bad season, no doubt, but to discredit all the previous success after one poor season is a disservice to the profession.

Over his seven-year tenure as head coach, Riley has mentored three of the last seven Heisman Trophy winners and remains the only head coach to achieve this feat. Additionally, he is the sole coach in the NFL’s common draft era to have three of his players chosen as the No. 1 overall pick. With an 80 percent winning record and three College Football Playoff appearances, Riley’s accomplishments reflect a high standard of excellence.

The selection process for the watch list involves evaluating each program’s Academic Progress Rate (APR), Graduation Success Rate (GSR), commitment to community service and charity, and projected success for the 2024 season. The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Peach Bowl, Inc. oversee this process.

Lincoln Riley certainly has work to do in 2024 to prove that he deserves to continue to be mentioned in the realm of elite head coaches, but it is clear that at this moment in time, he is still very highly regarded.

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