University of Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley has agreed to become the next head coach of the USC Trojans, according to sources who spoke with Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports. In turn, the Sooners’ own search is underway, and they’re targeting Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com).
Kingsbury still has one full year remaining on his deal and it’s not clear if he’d consider a return to the college ranks. Given his recent success, it’d be nothing short of shocking. At 9-2, the Cardinals are bonafide contenders for the first time in a long time.
Kingsbury made his name at Texas Tech, even though his teams went just 35-40 during his time there. In an era where new bowls continue to spawn, the Red Raiders only qualified for bowl games in three of those six seasons. There was also a noticeable drop from the final Patrick Mahomes season (fifth in scoring) to the post-Mahomes teams — 23rd in points in 2017, 100th in 2018 — for the Red Raiders’ offense.
Despite the hiccups, Kingsbury’s quarterback-whispering skills scored him the Cardinals’ job, ahead of several big-name candidates with pro experience. Now, in Year 3, there’s no questioning that the Cardinals made the right pick. Even with Kyler Murray sidelined and Colt McCoy under center, Kingsbury’s Cardinals have managed to go 2-1 in their last three games.
The Cardinals will look to pad their NFC lead next Sunday when they face the Bears in Chicago.