Colin Cowherd has had to openly admit how wrong he was about Oklahoma, as Brent Venables has turned the bus around in Norman after a 6-7 finish last season, leading the Sooners to a 6-0 start and the No. 6 overall ranking in the latest AP Poll.
However, with his hometown USC Trojans starting to slip under second-year head coach Lincoln Riley, Cowherd is looking for ways to defend his take on the team in LA being in a much better spot than the one in Norman, Oklahoma.
Fox Sports College Football Analyst Joel Klatt appeared as a guest on The Herd with Colin Cowherd this week, as he does often to discuss what’s happening in the sport.
During this week’s episode, Cowherd made a comment that USC and Colorado (and to a smaller extent, LSU) are trying to “microwave” their program, by using the transfer portal to supplement their rosters. He then used the example that USC has five starters on defense that are first-year transfers, sufficing that five first-year transfers is too many for them to be successful on that side of the ball.
Then, Cowherd goes a step further and supports his claim by saying that Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Michigan, combined, have five first-year transfers starting. Klatt though, could not let this stand.
“Timeout, timeout, timeout, TIMEOUT,” Klatt said, cutting off Cowherd’s attempts to add that he was talking about first-year transfers. “Oklahoma just had to microwave their defense, and its the only reason they just beat Texas. Do you know why? Six of their seven in the two-deep on their defensive line were transfers this year. Six of seven. This year. Why? They had no competitive depth on the defensive line last year and that’s why they gave up 40 points and 400 yards a game.”
After some dialogue, in which Klatt discredited Cowherd’s take on too many transfers being the issue at USC, Cowherd changed his tone a bit.
“I’m not denying that transfers make you better, what I’m saying is we were all unrealistic on Colorado, LSU, and USC because if you don’t have foundational years in… they just don’t have a foundation to go with the transfers.”
While Klatt didn’t address the obvious there, I can’t help but wonder if Cowherd doesn’t realize that Oklahoma’s success in 2023 is under a second-year head coach who’s had just as much time to build a program as Riley has at USC.
The reality is that Riley inherited a ready-made winner at Oklahoma when Bob Stoops handed him the keys to a Ferrari. By the time Riley left Norman, that Ferrari wasn’t quite totaled, but it was in need of all kinds of maintenance to get it back up to speed.
At USC Riley inherited a bad roster, threw in a bunch of wicked good offensive skill talent, and won 11 games in his first season. However, the issues that eventually arose at Oklahoma (i.e. play along the line of scrimmage, particularly on defense) have now shown up inside the Coliseum and the secret is starting to get out that things might not be as peachy for the Trojans as everyone had thought.
Perhaps Cowherd is just avoiding the possibility that Brent Venables might be better cut out for the job than he’d given him credit for, or he simply got caught up in an argument that lost its merit when his original claim was put to bed. Either way, OU’s ascension and USC’s descent happening simultaneously has flipped the script on social media from what we saw over the last year and a half, and that has to make Sooner fans feel pretty good about what the future looks like in Norman.