USC vs. Colorado: Matt Barkley's legacy still needs a BCS bowl win

Jeff Gross

USC quarterback Matt Barkley set a school and conference record for touchdown passes this weekend. But there are more milestones to achieve for Barkley and the Trojans.

Pass Matt Leinart for most touchdown passes in USC history:


Become new leader in the history of the Pac-10, 12, whatever, to throw most touchdowns:


Win a major bowl championship game:

We’ll see.

Matt Barkley dazzled in a fitting setting under the lights of Los Angeles in the Coliseum in the USC Trojans' 50-6 win over the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday, and became to be the first to throw 100 touchdown passes in the conference. He’ll be able to pass for even more as there are five (six with a bowl game) games remaining on schedule.

As remarkable as he’s been with USC under center, he’s still missing hardware to put him clearly on top in the school’s history: And he’ll probably never pass Leinart.

But that isn’t a knock on Barkley. Leinart is the most decorated quarterback ever to play the game in recent history, Tebow being a close second.

It’s unfair to compare Barkley to those two because he played during years where USC couldn’t play in a bowl game, or a championship game. But that can be added to his legacy.

USC is 6-1, 4-1 in conference. The hardest stretch of their schedule has now presented itself starting with a trip to Arizona where they will face Rich Rodriguez’s Wildcats, who have an explosive offense.

If Barkley wins over Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA, and Notre Dame, that will be something. Winning the Pac-12 championship? Something else. Winning a major bowl game? Then I’ll place him on top of USC’s player ranks.

Leinart played with some of the most tremendous athletes to ever play college football, but Barkley is mostly responsible to lead his team on top with the NCAA sanctions firmly in the driver’s rear window.

Nobody believed USC would be where they are right now, being ranked No. 9 in BCS’s latest rankings playing with 10 players less than any other team that are in the top 10 of said rankings.

Depth has hurt the Trojan team in some areas, but the talent is there to overcome the majority of the pain. Most of that talent coming from the heralded Barkley.

If USC wins the Rose Bowl or the BCS championship, then it will be one of the greatest comeback stories in recent college football history, with Barkley at the helm.

Notes and Observations

50: USC scored 50 points for the first time this season. Shocking to hear when the media, and I, thought they would explode for more regularly. Maybe the Colorado blowout solved things, or maybe they just played "Colorado".

Robert Woods: As much as I showed my enamored love for Barkley, Woods was no slouch against the Buffs. It was his first 100-plus receiving yards game this season. When Barkley and Woods start playing catch in games like these, opponent’s defense strategy is at a loss. It was great to see the two hooking up again.

14: Number of interceptions USC has this season; third in the nation. Let’s give a round of applause to defensive technition and USC secondary coach, Marvin Williams. I’ve scrutinized Monte Kiffin’s cover schemes against the pass before, but when Williams first stepped on Howard Jones field, those schemes were more clear.

USC is playing more tight zone and man coverage. Whether it’s the personel or the coverage scheme, the defense has taken a big step forward overall; and it starts with Williams taking over the secondary.

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