Lincoln Riley Says There’s ‘Not Any Truth’ To The Belief He Left Oklahoma To Avoid The SEC

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

David Hookstead Sports And Entertainment Editor
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Lincoln Riley wants fans to know Oklahoma eventually moving to the SEC played no role in his decision to leave.

Riley left the Sooners for the USC Trojans at the end of last season, and the decision to leave Norman sent shockwaves through the sport of college football. It also didn’t take long for people to try to create the narrative Riley was running before the Sooners could officially join the SEC. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)

Now, he’s responded to people who think the move was made out of fear.


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Riley said the following on 247Sports’ “College Football Daily Podcast” when discussing if he took the USC job to avoid playing in the SEC, according to BroBible:

No, there’s not any truth to that. I mean, I took a pretty big job when I was 33 years old. And the reality of the matter is the easier thing for me would’ve been to stay at OU. I mean, that program was running at a high level. And family’s settled, staff’s settled. I mean, a lot of things that were going really well and I absolutely think will continue to go well — it’s a tremendous program. So that program’s going to be just fine. But the easier thing would’ve been to stay. And it’s tremendous in every sense.

While it’s impossible to know for sure what Lincoln’s true motives were for taking the job in Los Angeles, not having to compete in the SEC certainly doesn’t hurt!

USC is one of the most prestigious programs in the history of college football, and the Trojans are flush with resources.


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Now, instead of having to compete against Alabama, Georgia, LSU and other traditional SEC powers, Riley will be able to build a powerhouse playing against Arizona, Oregon State and other PAC-12 programs.

If you don’t think that’s not an easier path to a national title, you simply don’t know college football.


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So, while I’m sure Riley doesn’t fear the SEC, there’s no shot he didn’t look at the landscape in front of him when deciding where to go.