Matt Barkley had a tremendous junior season at quarterback for the USC Trojans. On Monday afternoon, he will find out if it was good enough to get invited to New York City as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. The award will be given on Saturday, December 10, but the finalists will be announced today at noon on SportsCenter on ESPN.
Quarterbacks Andrew Luck of the Stanford Cardinal and Robert Griffin III of the Baylor Bears are seen as the two favorites, and HeismanPundit.com has Griffin ahead of Luck in its final straw poll. Running backs Trent Richardson of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Montee Ball of the Rose Bowl-bound Wisconsin Badgers rounded out the top four in that straw poll. Barkley came in sixth.
Barkley threw for a USC school-record 39 touchdown passes in 2011, in just 12 games, while throwing only seven interceptions. The junior completed a school-record 69.1% of his pass attempts and threw for 3,528 yards. He set a single-game record with six touchdown passes in a game twice this season, against both the Colorado Buffaloes and UCLA Bruins, and over the season's final eight games Barkley threw 29 touchdowns against just four interceptions.
USC has won seven Heisman Trophy awards, beginning with Mike Garrett in 1965. Fellow running backs O.J. Simpson (1968),(1979), and (1981) captured the award as well, as did quarterbacks Carson Palmer (2002) and Matt Leinart (2004). Running back Reggie Bush was the last Trojan to win the Heisman, in 2005, but gave back the award after NCAA violations surrounding Bush and his family led to a two-year bowl ban for USC.
For more news and information on Matt Barkley and USC football, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles.