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Video: Lincoln Riley Explains Why He Left Oklahoma for USC

Before incoming USC football coach Lincoln Riley jetted from the Great Plains of Norman, Oklahoma to the sunny skies of Los Angeles, he made sure that he met face-to face to tell his players of his new job.

In an interview with Scott Van Pelt on ESPN's SportsCenter, Riley said that it was a tough decision to leave a Sooners program that went 55–10 in five seasons under his leadership. However, Riley said taking over as head coach of the Trojans program is a thrilling opportunity for him.

"It was tough, especially coming off a game like that where our guys battled and played their hearts out, so much love for that team, those kids. . . . I was thankful I got the chance to do it in person," Riley said, before turning his attention to his new job at USC. 

"The history and tradition of one of the greatest college football programs of all time, the city, the Mecca of sports right here in Los Angeles. You can just feel the energy and passion, you can feel that these people are serious about doing anything and everything possible," Riley said.

"That combination was exciting to me because you start to really think about what this place can become and I'm thrilled to be a part of it."

Before taking the USC job, Riley was in numerous rumors as the frontrunner to become LSU's next coach. He put an end to those rumors on Saturday night, saying, "I am not going to be the next coach at LSU."

LSU recently hired former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly to lead its football program.

As Riley adjusts to his new home, former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will reportedly coach the Sooners in their bowl game, according to The Athletic. Stoops said he was disappointed in Riley's decision to leave Oklahoma for USC. 

The Trojans finished this season 4–7 and have only finished one season in the Top 25 within the last four years. USC's last New Year's Six Bowl victory was in the 2016 Rose Bowl. 

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