November 21, 2011
Give props to USC for striking while the iron was hot: Less than 24 hours after quarterback Matt Barkley connected for four touchdown passes in the Trojans' 38-35, championship-spoiling upset at Oregon, the university released a YouTube video championing Barkley for the Heisman Trophy.
And almost all of the highlights in the video are from last week's game against the Ducks. USC even cribbed a quote from Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who said Barkley was the best quarterback the Ducks had faced this year — a list that includes Stanford golden boy Andrew Luck, who had one of the worst games of his career in a 43-20 loss to Oregon two weeks ago. Barkley, on the other hand, bombed the No. 1 pass defense in the Pac-12 for 323 yards, six completions covering at least 20 yards and four scores, good for the highest pass efficiency rating against a Duck defense in two years.
There's no doubt Barkley deserves to be in the conversation: For the year, he's one of only six quarterbacks nationally with at least 30 touchdowns, and has the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in the nation (33 to 5) behind Houston's human pinball machine, Case Keenum, against significantly better competition. Across the board, Barkley ranks in the top 15 in yards per game, total yards and pass efficiency — and he's kept the 9-2 Trojans relevant in the national discussion during another lame-duck season under NCAA sanctions.
With ballots already out to voters and the Trojans season ending after Saturday's crosstown showdown with UCLA, though, is it too little, too late?