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USC vs. Washington 2012: Matt Barkley returned for this?

The USC Trojans improved to 5-1 on the season and 3-1 in conference play following the team's 24-14 road victory over the Washington Huskies, but it was the play of quarterback Matt Barkley that has Trojans fans buzzing.

Not because Barkley played well, poor, mediocre or anything similar to those adjectives, but because the star quarterback had the ball taken from his hand. The senior quarterback attempted just 20 passes on the game versus 37 rushing carries for the team's two-headed running attack. In the fourth quarter, Barkley dropped back just five times and was sacked on one of them.

SB Nation's USC Trojans blog, Conquest Chronicles, is flustered by head coach Lane Kiffin's conservative offensive play calling and wonders why Matt Barkley is being treated the way he is, especially after Barkley decided to return for his senior season as Kiffin wanted.

It is pretty clear that Kiffin is playing things conservative. I can buy into the team concept over individual numbers, but that is a hollow argument to me. I have a hard time believing that Matt Barkley came back for this. The school has a Heisman campaign for Barkley but Kiffin takes the ball out his hand? I won't argue that Barkley staying would probably tighten some things up in his game, but not like this.

The Trojans will head home and prepare to host the visiting Colorado Buffaloes, who have struggled mightily this season and have just one win on the season.