Some of the more successful Big 12 head coaches of late, like OU’s Lincoln Riley and ISU’s Matt Campbell, received big contract extensions recently.
We all knew that it was going to happen again eventually. Texas football and the Oklahoma Sooners are the only two blue blood programs in the Big 12. One of those two blue bloods remained at the top of the Big 12 for the past eight years, while the other faltered. Texas football appears to have finally caught back up with the Sooners. But, we should still have a battle between Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley and head Texas football coach Tom Herman set for a long time.
However, the difference still between Oklahoma and the Texas Longhorns is getting over the hump into the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma is still far ahead of Texas in the national title contention picture. That is largely due to the circumstances that Lincoln Riley came into after the surprising retirement of former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops a few years back.
Some of the rumors generated around the end of the regular season had Lincoln Riley out as a potential head coaching candidate for some NFL job openings. Riley adamantly denied most of those rumors, which resulted in some of the big news that dropped today for the Big 12 coaching carousel.
All in all, this was a turbulent day of coaching carousel news around the Big 12. The most prominent bit of news, outside of what came down for Lincoln Riley with the Sooners, was the announcement that Dana Holgorsen would be leaving the West Virginia Mountaineers football program to become the next head coach of the Houston Cougars.
Moreover, amid all the discussion surrounding the move from Holgorsen to leave West Virginia and join a Group of Five program was somewhat drowned out by the extension news for Riley with the Sooners. According to NewsOK, Riley will receive a contract extension and raise with the Oklahoma football program. But, the specific terms of the extension and raise won’t be announced yet.
This is a hectic time for the coaching carousel at both the college and NFL level. The coaching carousel had a big impact on regime changes around the Big 12. Before the off-season even started officially for every FBS team in the nation, there were four significant coaching changes.
West Virginia doesn’t know who its next head coach will be yet following the departure of Holgorsen. But, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Kansas Jayhawks, and Kansas State Wildcats have already filled some prominent coaching vacancies.
However, the proof is looming for some of the better head coaches around the Big 12 that delivering results leads to nice contract extensions and raises. Riley got his from the Sooners after the College Football Playoff Semifinal loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Despite that postseason loss, Riley produced two consecutive Heisman Trophy winners and two Playoff appearances in the last two years.
Riley is starting to have some company alongside him at the top of the Big 12 standings. Herman and the Horns could be joining the Sooners as one of the top two teams consistently in the Big 12 now. Texas finished second to the Sooners in the Big 12 standings this fall, and even beat them in the first Red River Showdown.
If Herman keeps producing results like he did in the Big 12 this year, a contract extension and/or raise could be just around the corner in the next year or two for him too. All indications do point to the Horns and Sooners shifting the power back to the two blue bloods at the top of the Big 12. Lincoln Riley and Tom Herman could be moving into an era where they are the faces of this conference in terms of the head coaches.