Matt Barkley has had a fine junior season for the USC Trojans, the eighth season in school history with 3,000 yards passing and tied for third with 33 touchdowns with one game left to play. Barkley and the Trojans end their regular season against their crosstown rival UCLA Bruins on Saturday night. The Trojans have begun their Heisman Trophy campaign for Barkley:
"What's happened with Matthew is he's played huge in the big games," head coach Lane Kiffin said on Monday. "He doesn't get enough credit because of sanctions, probation, scholarship reductions, guys leaving, all those things that have happened around him. In reality he should get more credit because he's dealing with stuff that's different than any of other players are. They're not playing with as many young guys around him because of roster reductions, they're not playing with no dreams of bowl games or championships."
Barkley has had two rather pedestrian games against the Bruins in the last two years - 33 of 52 passes for 404 yards combined, with two touchdowns and three interceptions in two wins over the Bruins - but perhaps a big game on Saturday will get Barkley an invite to New York as a Heisman finalist.
There is also the possibility that Saturday will be Barkley's final college game. While Lane Kiffin would obviously want Barkley back, teaming with young wide receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee with no more sanctions, the lure of the NFL could prove too enticing for Barkley, who is a likely first round pick.
"Regardless of Matt's decision, he'll be one of the great Trojans of all-time," Kiffin said.
Saturday night's 7 p.m. PST game will be televised by Prime Ticket. For more UCLA football news and analysis, be sure to read Bruins Nation. For USC football information, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles.