From the moment word first leaked back in November, every Oklahoma fan has gone through the five stages of grief over Lincoln Riley's departure for USC, and it seems like every single one of them have done so in public, through one avenue or another.
It's understandable, after all. Riley is the first OU coach to leave for another college job since 1947. He'd spent seven seasons in the program -- six of them ending in Big 12 titles, four with Playoff berths -- and it seemed Riley and Sooner Nation had another 20 still in front of them, until it all ended one Sunday in November. When you add in the fact that Riley's departure meant Oklahoma had to essentially hit the reset button on every facet of the program, with an SEC move on the horizon and, yeah, you can see why they were so upset.
The fan base has collectively moved to acceptance, at least for now. (Heaven help us if Oklahoma struggles this season, USC is better than expected, or both.) But there was a time, when Sooner Nation was in the midst of denial and anger, that was objectively the funniest to neutral observers.
That period can be summarized as: Who would even want to leave Oklahoma for California anyway?
This isn't to say California is perfect or that Oklahoma has nothing to offer. Neither are true. But, I mean, come on. People have been voting with their feet since the 1930s, and the result is a rout for California.
While it admittedly isn't for everybody, California is for most people. There's a reason it's the most populous state in the nation. It's also the most populous state in the nation for millionaires. Cali's millionaire population, an estimated 1.147 million, is more than double the next-highest state (Texas, 650,000) and 15 times Oklahoma's number (75,000). In fact, California's millionaire population is more than 25 percent of Oklahoma's total population.
Still, that didn't stop plenty of Oklahomans from Wondering Out Loud why anyone would want to live in the nation's most popular state, from this sports radio caller captured by the Los Angeles Times:
“I wish him lots of traffic, losses, smog, high taxes,” said another voice. “Someday he’s gonna be sitting in traffic and go, ‘Was it worth it?’ ”
All the way up to Governor Kevin Stitt:
"Can you imagine leaving a place like Norman, Oklahoma for a place like Southern California," Stitt, a Republican, said to a mixture of laughter and applause during his State of the State address. "I mean, who would do that?"
Turns out, Governor, lots of people can imagine it, including the former Public Enemy No. 1 in Oklahoma: Kevin Durant, who didn't exactly suffer in his move from Oklahoma City to the Bay Area.
Riley was actually in the midst of moving from the $1.7 million mansion he bought shortly after his 2017 promotion to a new build, which the family abandoned upon the acceptance of the USC job.
But one doubts the Rileys -- or anyone -- will miss the plains of Oklahoma when sitting in Riley's new $17 million Palos Verdes estate. Sitting atop 3.1 acres, the 13,000-square foot home features seven bedrooms, 12 baths, a 5-car garage, seven fireplaces, a movie theater, a putting green, sauna and steam rooms, a 600-bottle wine room, and "picturesque ocean and coastline views from almost every vantage point."
I mean, really, who in their right mind would leave picturesque Norman, Oklahoma, for that hell hole?