USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley said on Sunday that he does believe that the Trojans will be re-engaged for the Cotton Bowl on January 2nd. He cited how big of a deal it is to be playing in that game, considering where the program was last year, in not even playing in a bowl game after winning just eight games:
Of course, motivation for this game is going to be a major factor for the Trojans. They ended up getting punished and booted out of the College Football Playoff for an Ohio State team that did not earn a conference championship appearance like SC did.
They moved in by staying home and watching SC try to play through catastrophic injuries when being asked to play another game on a short week. Therefore, while the Trojans could potentially not take interest in this game, Riley doesn't buy it. He's very fond of the Cotton Bowl, clearly:
After all, Riley has played in the Cotton Bowl before. Two seasons ago when Riley was at OU, he played against Florida in the Cotton Bowl and utterly destroyed them by a score of 55 to 20. And it will be nice for Riley to get back to a New Year's Six Bowl too, as last year was the first time in his career he didn't earn a trip to a New Year's Six Bowl. (He went to the Alamo Bowl.)
Now with USC Football, though, Lincoln Riley is back on the big stage.
Lincoln Riley will coach USC Football in their first Cotton Bowl since the 2017 season. That was another 11-2 team who didn't make the CFP over a team who didn't play in their conference championship game, despite SC even winning their conference title. The Trojans definitely didn't look motivated at all, and lost 24-7.
That's why it was important to hear Riley talk about how he believes SC will still be motivated for a game like this, despite what happened with the CFP selections.
It would be a great way to finish this season if the No. 10 Trojans could get a win here against the No. 16 Tulane Green Wave in the Cotton Bowl this year. Tripling SC's win total in just his first year for the program would work wonders for 39-year-old Riley's already absurdly impressive resume.