Southern Cal, Riley headed to Cotton Bowl to play Tulane

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Southern Cal Cotton Bowl Tulane
Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams (13) is tackled by Utah safeties R.J. Hubert (11) and Cole Bishop (8) during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship NCAA college football game Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Southern California is going to the Cotton Bowl after missing its chance to get into the College Football Playoff.

The Trojans will play American Athletic Conference champion Tulane on Jan. 2. The Trojans lost the Pac-12 championship game when they were in line for a spot in the four-team playoff.

Instead of a playoff the Trojans get Tulane

They instead will play the highest-ranked Group of Five team. The Green Wave were 16th in the final CFP rankings, six spots behind Southern Cal. It is a matchup of 11-2 teams.

Southern Cal Cotton Bowl Tulane

Tulane was 2-10 last season, while the Trojans have made a seven-win improvement in coach Lincoln Riley’s debut.