The Trojans were one of college football's hottest teams last season but NCAA-imposed sanctions prevented USC from earning a bowl bid. Barkley led USC to a 10-2 record, including an upset win over nationally ranked Pac-12 rival Oregon. The men of Troy would have been in line for a shot at Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game with a 7-2 conference record but, again, sanctions prevented their eligibility.
With the sanctions finally lifted, USC will be able to feed off success from last season and contend for a national title in 2012. Barkley's decision to stay in school had a lot to do with USC being bowl eligible this season and the lifted sanctions will only increase his chances at the Heisman trophy.
I had no problem with Robert Griffin III winning the award after a phenomenal 2011 campaign, but the fact Barkley wasn't even a finalist blew my mind. Something tells me the sanctions really hurt his candidacy for a finalist spot, but there should be no reason he misses out on the trip to New York City this time.
Here are five reasons Barkley will win the Heisman Trophy in 2012.