It’s only a matter of time until the head coach opts out of the bowl game

 – Gudstory

It’s only a matter of time until the head coach opts out of the bowl game – Gudstory

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College football programs are as volatile as ever during the transfer portal era. This time last year, the USC Trojans were one of the top programs in the country. Fast forward to the end of 2023, and the Trojans’ 42-28 win over No. 15 Louisville, without Caleb Williams, seemed strangely necessary.

Head coach Lincoln Riley had a tough year because his defense had a tough year. Columnists and local players alike abandoned ship after a 7-5 campaign that saw the defending Heisman winner break down in tears as USC couldn’t hold the opponent below 40 points.

This led to 17 members of the Trojans enter the transfer portal. If Riley’s offense and sophomore QB Miller Moss don’t show up in the Holiday Bowl, the emotions going into the offseason and spring ball will certainly be less cold.

The difference between 7-6 and 8-5 may seem small, but not to impressionable young children trying to protect their “brands.” Although I would drink a milkshake over an influencer if I saw one in the wild, it’s something kids aspire to be. At some point, followers become monetizable, and – oh my goodness. I’m not interested.

It doesn’t matter that the menus for the dishes will be delivered twice before September, perception is everything. Moss threw for 372 yards and six touchdowns because of course he did. Riley is still a solid player although his ability to develop a QB has never stopped.

To be honest, if I were a coach heading into a bowl game, with a program headed in the wrong direction, I would try to join the rest of my team opting out. Publish the idea on social media, and gauge backlash. Just do what Jim Harbaugh did and promote a temporary assistant. This way, there is a built-in excuse if the kids don’t show up.

I know this may be shocking, but a lot of fan bases have inflated opinions about their alma maters and view a trip to the Mayo Bowl at Duke as a failure. Oh my God, even if I win, the prize is a bucket full of sandwiches, which is a real nightmare for me.

The duality of victory does not stop there. Does anyone know if Moss is expected to be the starter at USC next fall? How the hell is Riley supposed to lure one of these transfer portal gems after his QB broke the record for TD passes in the Holiday Bowl? If your quarterback vacates his role in the postseason, the cycle starts over and early. Free agents are looking for a blank slate, not quarterback competition. That’s why Kyle McCord went to Syracuse.

These bowl games are charades. The only upside for teams teetering on the brink of exodus is financial boon. For Riley, finishing the season on a high note slightly diminished his critic’s condescension, and perhaps guaranteed the QB controversy. He has not dispelled the negative attitude towards the defense and any praise is displeasure if not overt.

So, yeah, congratulations to Lincoln Riley, Miller Moss and the Trojans. You’ve avoided disaster, you’ve played a great game.

Connor Bedard has truly rewritten the Blackhawks record books

Technically, I’m filling in for regular Sam Fels at TMA, so I’m committed to punctuating this piece with some Chicago sports news. On Wednesday, rookie Connor Bedard became the youngest player in Blackhawks history to score a goal in overtime.

bubble! Suck on that, Winnipeg!

While Badar’s accomplishment is more of an answer to a trivia question than some sort of crown jewel, he’s a kid who still has a cult status.


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