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Barkley officially ruled out of bowl game; USC career over

Notre Dame v USC Getty Images

In early December, Lane Kiffin expressed confidence that Matt Barkley would be recovered enough from a shoulder injury to play in USC’s bowl game.  Less than a week ago, it looked doubtful the senior would take the field for what would be the final game of his collegiate career.

With the Trojans’ Sun Bowl matchup with Georgia Tech just four days away, the will he/won’t he question has finally and officially been answered.

In an announcement that seemed to be a foregone conclusion for at least a week, Kiffin confirmed Thursday that Barkley will not play in USC’s first postseason game since the quarterback’s freshman season.  Barkley suffered the shoulder injury in the UCLA loss and missed the regular-season finale against Notre Dame because of it.

Kiffin said Barkley wanted to play, but doctors would not medically clear him to do so. “I’ll be here with my team to finish strong. Proud to be a Trojan!” Barkley wrote in a tweet posted to his Twitter account.

As was the case in the game against the Irish, Max Wittek will get the start at quarterback for the Trojans, Kiffin confirmed.

And, just like that, one of the most star-crossed careers a high-profile player at the FBS level has endured in many a year has come to an end.

Barkley was a highly-touted five-star member of USC’s 2009 recruiting class, rated as the No. 1 quarterback and the No. 5 player at any position in the country.  After enrolling early in January of 2009, the Newport Beach, Calif., native won the starting job coming out of that first spring practice and went on to start 47 of the 50 games the Trojans played during his four-year career, with the only three games he missed due to an injury his freshman, sophomore and senior seasons.  The Trojans were 34-13 in games in which Barkley started, 0-3 in games he didn’t.

As expected from a player who both started nearly four dozen games and played in a pass-happy offense, Barkley set a slew of school and conference records during his statistically prolific career.  He currently owns 20 USC career, season and game records, 10 of which are Pac-12 marks, including career total offense (12,214), passing yards (12,327), completions (1,011), passing touchdowns (116) and rushing/passing touchdowns (122).  The school records owned by Barkley include most career 400-yard passing games (4); most career 300-yard passing games (15); most yards passing, game (493); and most touchdown passes, game (six, twice).

Despite all of the shiny numbers, Barkley’s career was marked by a series of disappointments, none more so than the NCAA sanctions that throttled the football program.  Thanks to the punitive measures levied by The Association over the Reggie Bush impermissible benefits scandal, USC was banned from participating in the postseason — including the inaugural Pac-12 championship game last year as well as bowl games — in 2010 and 2011.  So, thanks to those sanctions plus this injury, Barkley’s career will end with just one bowl appearance — the 2009 Emerald Bowl, a 24-13 win over Boston College.

Another oddity when it comes to a player of Barkley’s status and as the holder of a handful of conference records?  He never once was named to the first-team All-Pac-12 squads in any of his four seasons, and just once (2011) did he earn second-team all-conference honors.  In 2010 and then again this season, he was named honorable mention.

The biggest disappointment, though, might’ve been this season.  Entering 2012 ranked as the No. 1 team in the country by the Associated Press, and No. 3 according to the coaches, the Trojans lost four of their last five games to finish a disappointing regular season at 7-5.

Barkley also entered 2012 as the prohibitive Heisman front-runner before giving way to the likes of Geno Smith, Collin Klein and eventual winner Johnny Manziel.  Instead of Barkley, it was teammate and wide receiver Marqise Lee receiving the Heisman push from USC at season’s end, with the true sophomore finishing fourth in the balloting and just missing a trip to New York City as one of the Heisman finalists.

Losses and turnovers were the story of Barkley’s final season at the Los Angeles school, with the former number of five matching 2010 for the most in Barkley’s tenure. After throwing just seven interceptions in 446 attempts last season, Barkley set a career-high with 15 in 387 attempts this year.

The subpar 2012 season both personally and team-wise came nearly a year after Barkley eschewed what would’ve been a surefire shot at being top-10 selection in the April NFL draft for another year with the Trojans.  That decision could prove to be costly for Barkley as, even given the utter dearth of top-shelf talent at his position, he’s considered at the moment by many a draft observer to be a late first-round pick.

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15 Responses to “Barkley officially ruled out of bowl game; USC career over”
  1. allan357 says: Dec 27, 2012 2:54 PM

    Knowing Kiffin, it’s probably a ruse to confuse the opponent. During the game, he’ll have Barkley come out wearing the back-up’s jersey.

  2. mogogo1 says: Dec 27, 2012 2:56 PM

    I don’t have much hope that Barkley will make it in the NFL. He was always good for a couple of interceptions, regardless who they were playing. That’s just not going to cut it in the NFL.

    And what a disaster of a year for Kiffin. If they somehow lose to GT it’ll be a 7-6 season for a team that was a trendy pick to make the national title game. Kiffin will be gone from USC before Barkley is out of the NFL.

  3. lakesidegator says: Dec 27, 2012 3:56 PM

    If they would just declare Kiffin out for the game, then I’d be willing to watch it. Can’t stand to see him on the sideline any more than I could the midget Carroll.

  4. thekatman says: Dec 27, 2012 4:02 PM

    Seems you punks like to disrespect others. Kinda odd that you’re commenting on an aticle about how the press has resported that USC showed up late to a dinner. Until you know the facts baout the events that ocurred last night, you might want to keep your mouth shut; otherwise, you just prove to anyone who reads this article that you’re just jealous children.

    What isn’t stated in this article is that CLK apologised to the committee and GT staff for being 30 minutes late to the dinner. They were not 60 or even 90 minutes late.

    So by this article stating the GT team left after eating, and decided not to wait for USC, seems tlike the disrespect came from the GT staff. Since when does a group that large arrive, kibbutz around for a while then have a sit down dinner in under 90 minutes?

    Hmmmm, seems the hatred continues aginst USC, and unjustly.

    Now for the tweets? That wasn’t cool.
    Fight On.
    Beat the Yellow Bellies, uh er.. Jackets, big time.

    And Max Wittek will put a hurt on their secondary.

  5. gorilladunk says: Dec 27, 2012 4:13 PM

    @katman…it seems you’re a bit sensitive about your beloved Trojans and their pathetic season. Let me make it clear….nobody gives a horse’s rear about the dinner schedule SC did or didn’t adhere to. They remain a bunch of overrated prima donna’s with a head coach who acts like a college freshman. They are on the verge of overtaking Texas as the school that does the least with the most. Fight On with that!

  6. florida727 says: Dec 27, 2012 4:16 PM

    #thekatman, congratulations. You win the award for stupidest post of the day (could be month or even year, but we’ll have to review some of your other posts to be sure). The article is about Barkley not starting in the bowl game, not some dinner engagement, you moron. You’re a glaring example of what’s wrong with the (U)niversity of (S)poiled (C)hildren. Nice season. Pre-season ranked #1. 7-5. How’s Kiffin working out for you?

  7. John Taylor says: Dec 27, 2012 4:25 PM

    I was going to come on here and give a gentle nudge to katman that he was commenting under the wrong post, but I see florida727 has taken care of gently nudging him in the proper direction. :-)

  8. webdupree says: Dec 27, 2012 5:30 PM

    Things with Barkley didn’t quite pan out like many of us hoped, but in the larger context, he was the right QB to have in place during this period of sanctions. I’m not religious myself, but it was a relief to have a clean cut, scandal free QB who more interested in Bible study and charity work than drunken partying or hanging out with Paris Hilton-type characters. Added bonus: no sexual assault accusations!

    Maybe the details will never be fully known, but Barkley supposedly helped hold things together among players and recruits during the transition after Pete Carroll left/fled. And he has now endured three years of Kiffin being in charge, while only getting to play in one bowl game, the Fight Hunger with Nuts Bowl, or whatever it is. Meanwhile, he usually kept his public comments on the mild side.

    For all of Kiffin’s nonsense, there was still quite a bit of hope at the end of last season that somehow things were on the upswing, and when Barkley said he was coming back, expectations grew even higher. So much for all that. It’s hard to feel sorry for a twenty-something who’s about to receive a nice chuck of change from the NFL (even if he’s not a first round pick), but I am sorry to see his four years at USC end this way, with a lousy season and a string of embarrassing Kiffin shenanigans.

  9. phreakin says: Dec 27, 2012 6:01 PM

    I’d bet my life someone still picks him in the first round. Someone like say the Giants or Tampa as a backup. If not, he will go in round 2 to the Cards

  10. crazyfootballfun says: Dec 27, 2012 6:02 PM

    I absolutely am not a fan of USC or especially of Kiffin. but Barkley…. a good kid who seems to have stayed true to his values. I am sorry his senior year did not pan out for him, but I suspect Barkley will be a success in anything he attempts. His head is clearly on straight.

  11. thekatman says: Dec 27, 2012 8:35 PM

    My apologies to John for commenting on this article about the Sun Bowl incident from last night, that was erroneously reported by CBS Sports dot com, and properly reported by USCFootbal dot com.

    To those who slammed me, FTFO.
    Fight On brothers and sisters.

  12. matthewcarlson1 says: Dec 28, 2012 12:01 AM

    Welcome to the third round Mr. Barkley!

  13. blackmike2 says: Dec 28, 2012 12:44 AM

    best of luck to mr. barkley, someone who seems to be part of the what’s right with college football. hopefully the shoulder injury heals and doesn’t derail his attempt to make it in the nfl. if he doesn’t make, i just hope he has a legitimate (i.e., healthy) shot.

    as for his college coach, he’s a double threat. he leads all comers in the what’s wrong in both college and nfl coaching department..

  14. beerbudsnbevo says: Dec 28, 2012 4:20 PM

    No worries SC fans….

    When you lose to GT, you can just use the same old excuse that you and Lakers fans both use whenever they both lose….

    The Referees screwed us again…

  15. thekatman says: Dec 28, 2012 8:14 PM

    Hey beerbudsnbevo….
    You are so funny.
    Are you a comedian?
    Besides, with a nom de plur like yours, being a drunk and a stoner from Texas perhaps… is prolly a step up for you and your friends.

    Fight On and for you, go home.

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