Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley kicked off this year’s Big 12 Media Days with quite the zinger.
Accompanied by seniors Jeremiah Hall (TE/HB) and Nik Bonitto (LB), Riley traveled southbound to Arlington, Texas for the conference’s first day of media availability on Wednesday. And while the event is about a three hour drive from OU’s campus in Norman, the Sooners coach felt right at home.
The Big 12 Championship game has been held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington for the past four seasons. Oklahoma has claimed victory in each of those four championship games.
“Good to be back here in our second home,” Riley said when greeting reporters, per CBS’ Bob Ballou.
Lincoln Riley in his opening statement:
“Good to be back here in our second home.”
— Bob Ballou (@BobBallouSports) July 14, 2021
Riley took the Sooners head coaching job back in 2017, the first year the Big 12 returned to its traditional conference championship game format. From 2011-16, the conference title would simply go to the team with the best regular-season record.
While the Sooners’ recent conference dominance is certainly impressive, this success goes back much further than Riley’s tenure with the team. Since the first Big 12 championship in 1996, Oklahoma has notched 14 conference titles — 11 more than the next highest conference opponent (Texas: 3).
And from the looks of things this coming year, Riley and the Sooners are overwhelming favorites to claim the championship yet again in 2021-22. With Heisman-favorite quarterback Spencer Rattler returning for his junior season, Oklahoma isn’t only expected to contend for a Big 12 title — but a College Football Playoff title as well.
The Sooners will kickoff their 2021 campaign with a matchup against Tulane on Sep. 4. Their first Big 12 contest will take place against the West Virginia Mountaineers on Sep. 25.