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Entries in Matt Barkley (7)


PAC 10 Preview: Oregon Wins Wild Race

Picture Of Chip Kelly

One Great Season

Of all the tight races expected in college football this year, and there will be many, the PAC 10 looks to be the most wide open.

Depending on injuries, luck and a bounce or two here or there, any one of seven teams could conceivably win the conference in 2010. Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Arizona, California, Stanford and even a depleted USC team will contend for the league's BCS bowl bid.

Four of these teams will be led by star quarterbacks. Washington's Jake Locker has been touted as a potential No. 1 NFL draft pick for two years now. Stanford's Andrew Luck, only a sophomore, is a legitimate Heisman candidate and many think he'll continue to flourish under popular coach Jim Harbaugh despite the loss of Toby Gerhart.

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No. 13: USC Trojans

Matt Barkley

The One Great Season College Football Countdown continues Wednesday. We'll be counting down the preseason Top 25 teams in 2010. Today's No. 13 is USC.

One Great Season

In a hectic college football offseason packed with coaching changes, recruiting investigations and suspensions, USC's was perhaps the most dramatic.

A two-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions, among other penalties, have left the Trojans vowing to achieve one simple goal in 2010: to win all 13 of their games.

And while a perfect regular season is unlikely, USC remains one of the few programs that can intimidate with just its name, colors and presence.

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What Will Happen To Poor Matt Barkley?

Matt Barkley

One Great Season

Didn't it seem like Matt Barkley was on top of the world last summer? If it did, that's because he was.

The Golden Boy was a folk hero before taking his first collegiate snap. Highly heralded coming out of high school, he was named the USC starting quarterback early in fall camp. And in just his second start, the handsome freshman played through pain and engineered a late touchdown drive that gave his Trojans a huge road win at Ohio State.

And although the Trojans suffered through a very un-USC-like season, Barkley did lead his squad to other meaningful road triumps at Notre Dame and California, as well as a bowl win and a 9-4 record. The future looked bright for Barkley and his coach, Pete Carroll.

But then the dominoes started falling and Barkley is suddenly in a tough spot.

Joe McKnight

His top running backs at the beginning of the season, Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson, won't be returning next season. McKnight announced Friday that he'll skip his senior season and Johnson has no eligibility left.

McKnight is the latest USC athlete to find himself embroiled in controversy. After saying around Thanksgiving that he expected to return for his senior season, news hit that McKnight was spotted rolling a Land Rover registered to his girlfriend's boss, a possible NCAA violation.

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Of course McKnight insists the ongoing investigation had nothing to do with his decision, but considering the Reggie Bush probe is still open five years later and a dark cloud hangs over the men's basketball program, one can't help but think McKnight is just getting out before the NCAA lowers the boom.

Pete Carroll

Which is what Carroll is trying to do, it appears. As of mid-morning Saturday, the coach who can't seem to stay away from the NFL appeared poised to accept a $7-million-a-year offer to become both coach and president of the Seattle Seahawks. If Carroll does bolt, it's expected that he'd take Barkley's quarterbacks coach, Jeremy Bates, with him to Seattle.

Star wideout and punt returner Damian Williams also announced Friday that he'll skip his senior year, but that's less of a surprise than McKnight's decision. Williams, a transfer from Arkansas who already has earned his degree from USC, was named the team MVP in just his second season as a Trojan.

There was also some talk last month that disgruntled back C.J. Gable, a frequent visitor to Carroll's doghouse, was considering turning pro, but if Carroll leaves, perhaps Gable will return. He and Allen Bradford, and lesser-known Marc Tyler, would be the front-runners to man the often-crowded USC backfield in 2010.

Even Barkley's backup, Aaron Corp, is leaving. But hold your laughter; he's not going to the NFL early. Corp is headed to the University of Richmond, where he won't be required to sit for a year -- he already did that this season -- because the Spiders compete at the Division I-AA level.

If you're tired of hearing about USC quarterbacks, then don't watch today's NFL playoff game between the Bengals and Jets (NBC, 4:30 pm ET). Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer won the 2002 Heisman Trophy as a Trojan and Jets' rookie QB Mark Sanchez led USC to a 12-1 record and a Rose Bowl win last season.

If Carroll leaves, it's logical to think USC will bring in an offensive-minded coach to mentor the franchise Barkley. Carroll is a masterful recruiter, so losing him will certainly loosen the stranglehold he's had on area blue-chippers, a development that wouldn't bother UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel one bit.

But on name alone, USC is still the top brand in talent-rich Los Angeles, and it seems reasonable to assume the Trojans will remain solid in the near-term, but they certainly won't enjoy the new decade the way they owned the 2000s. I expect Barkley to continue his maturation and development regardless of who his coach is.

This will become more of a life lesson than a football lesson for the young star, and Barkley will keep doing what he does best, throwing the football and positioning himself to be an NFL quarterback.


Chip Kelly Welcomes Matt Barkley To Oregon

Columbia River

One Great Season

EUGENE, Oregon -- College football observers outside of Southern California grew sick of Matt Barkley before he took his first collegiate snap.

There was so much preseason talk about whether he'd steal away the starting quarterback job after Aaron Corp went down with a knee injury in August. Pete Carroll fell ga-ga and ESPN followed suit, giving USC's next Golden Boy plenty of air time that irked many.

Barkley then gave Trojan haters even more reason to leave anonymous comments in the blogosphere by demonstrating more than confidence after USC thrashed San Jose State in the season opener.

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When asked by a Los Angeles Times reporter if there was anything difficult about his first college game, a 56-3 cakewalk, he smiled and said, "The run up the tunnel at halftime. That was brutal."

The training wheels came off between that game and USC's next one seven days later, a visit to Columbus to play perennial power Ohio State in front of its 105,000 scarlet-sweatered loyals.


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Sports By Brooks wrote prior to that game that "the atmosphere will be nuts. I probably don't even know how it will be. But that won't faze him."

Barkley also once said his team could win "in Alaska in the snow. That's how confident I am in this offense. There can be 500,000 rooting against me."

And this week he's already wondered about the crowd at notoriously raucous Autzen Stadium, where No. 10 Oregon will entertain USC in a heavyweight Halloween showdown that will give the winner the inside track to the PAC 10 championship and a bowlful of BCS cred.

"The energy is going to be awesome and it's going to be a cool atmosphere, especially on Halloween night," Barkley said. "Who knows what their uniforms will be? Probably something crazy as usual."

Barkley then shoved his youthful curiosity aside, and got back to being, well, Barkley.

"I feed off that energy, I feed off that noise," he said. "I love it."

And of course, that's what I asked Oregon coach Chip Kelly about today, and here was his brief reply:


Is Too Much Being Made About Matt Barkley?

One Great Season

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Matt Barkley is and will continue to be a phenomenal quarterback. No one disputes that.

But is it possible that the local media are making far too big a deal about the fact that he's a freshman?

I think the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Everybody seems to think all Ohio State has to do is blitz him and hit him and confuse him early, and then 105,000 screaming red sweaters in Ohio Stadium Saturday night will handle the rest.

It will be nowhere near that easy.

The early chapters of the Gospel according to Matthew will be written with a steady hand, one that will be able to give the ball to any of the 459 star runners in the backfield. Many of them are blessed with that coveted speed you hear about in the SEC. If Barkley has to throw, he has one of the finest lines in the country protecting him. And then the targets he'll be throwing to are dangerous athletes as well.

USC Coach Pete Carroll says age is just a number, and what people are forgetting is that Barkley doesn't just possess the raw tools needed to be a great quarterback. He also has those intangibles like poise, confidence and a surprising ability to lead and command a huddle at such an early age.

If Ohio State can rattle Barkley -- a tall order indeed -- it won't be because he's a freshman, it will simply be because Ohio State is good enough to rattle a quarterback of any age or talent level. But time will tell if the Buckeyes defense is good enough to penetrate that great USC line.

In the video below, OSU cornerback Andre Amos clearly demonstrates that he's had some media training, offering a short chuckle off the top, then giving a fair but hardly meaty soundbite about going up against USC's prized freshman.


Report: USC's Barkley Named Starting QB

One Great Season

NEW YORK -- USC's highly touted freshman quarterback Matt Barkley should place a phone call -- or a Facebook friend request -- to his Ohio State counterpart, Terrelle Pryor.

YOUR THOUGHTS: Can Freshman Barkley Win in Columbus?

His first question might be, "As a true freshman, how do you handle a high-profile game with national championship implications in a hostile environment?"

Barkley Thursday was named the starting quarterback for Southern Cal, which plays Ohio State on Sept. 12 in Columbus. ESPN's Shelley Smith reported that it's not yet clear whether coach Pete Carroll's decision applies only to USC's season opener vs. San Jose State, or if the depth chart was filled out in pen to signify a more permanent ruling today.

Either way, Barkley is a talented young player who just eight months ago was roaming his high school hallways. But in 16 days, he might be asked to steer USC, always with national championship aspirations, to a victory in front of 110,000 scarlet-sweatered Buckeye backers at Ohio Stadium.

Ohio State is led by Pryor, who as a true freshman saw significant playing time at quarterback when the Bucks got blasted out of Los Angeles Coliseum last September, 35-3. With that embarrassing defeat still likely fresh in his head and a clear-cut role as team leader, Pryor will have to come up big no matter who starts where for USC. The Trojans are always dangerous on offense, nasty on defense and very well coached.

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Freshman QB Barkley Could Start at USC

One Great Season

EDISON, N.J. -- Last year, Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor was under the microscope when his Buckeyes played at USC early in the season. The highly heralded freshman didn't get the start, but leading up to the game, it was expected that he would definitely get some reps. He ended up getting most of them in lieu of an ineffective Todd Boeckman.

And now, it's Matt Barkley's turn to get thrown to the wolves.

This year's top freshman quarterback could very well shake hands with a national audience for the first time when his USC Trojans return the trip to Columbus, and hopefully for Buckeyes fans, the Ohio Stadium crowd will be just as unwelcoming as the packed house in Los Angeles Coliseum was last September.

Though Pryor never really seemed rattled in last year's meeting, Ohio State was embarrassed, 35-3. And now that the word out of Southern Cal's camp has Barkley as the possible starter, only a few weeks separate us from finding out what kind of freshman performance he can deliver. Current No. 1 Aaron Corp missed Tuesday's workout and is scheduled for an MRI Wednesday, according to's Bruce Feldman. And as he sits, Barkley continues to impress in preseason drills.

USC coach Pete Carroll and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates are using words like "extraordinary" and "really good throws" and "confident" to describe Barkley, according to Feldman.

Similar words were used a year ago about Pryor. We'll find out who's more deserving of the praise on Sept. 12.