USC and Lincoln Riley are still in Bora Bora together. The dormant superpower and its 38-year-old head coach are in Month No. 5 of their honeymoon, with no plans to return to reality anytime soon, and with good reason.
The Thanksgiving weekend hire of Oklahoma's entrenched head coach was a bolt of lightning out of a clear sky. Considering the circumstances, it's probably the biggest hire of a head coach since Alabama lured Nick Saban out of Miami. USC is a decade and a half removed from serious competition, playing in a languishing Pac-12 Conference, in a city bedazzled by Rams, Dodgers and Lakers that have all won titles within the past 24 months.
It's hard to remember a time USC was less relevant, and thus more desperate.
The Riley hire changed all of that in an instant.
Think about it. What else could USC have done, days removed from a 4-8 season, to get Paul Finebaum of all people to say, "Oh yeah, USC is winning a national title soon."
In a town that only pays attention to shiny objects, USC went from dull to blinding in one move. Of course they're proud of it.
In regurgitating the hype from Finebaum, Colin Cowherd and others doesn't exactly come out of the Sun Tzu playbook. A program coming off a 4-8 season creating a hype video like this is the diametric opposite of "Appear weak when you are strong."
Which, from afar, will make the Lincoln Riley Era of USC football all the more fascinating. Either the West Coast's preeminent program rises from its Rip Van Winkle-like slumber, or this epic swing ends in a mess.
Either way, it'll be the best story Hollywood has told us in years.