Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Southern Cal QB Matt Barkley
Matt Barkley has had somewhat of a weird season.
On one hand, the senior from Mater Dei High School has thrown for 2,972 yards and 33 touchdowns. He will most likely finish the year with All-Conference honors and will be a relatively high draft pick.
On the other hand, he's failed to live up to the hype heading into this year. Before the season began, Barkley was projected to be a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate and also was expected to lead this team to a possible national championship.
That hasn't happened this year.
It probably was a mistake to come back this year. Barkley would have been a first round pick last season. This year, his draft stock has dropped considerably, and his limitations as a player have been somewhat magnified.
Barkley has shown the propensity to make poor decisions this year—as evidenced by 13 interceptions on the season (which is among the most in the conference).
When pressured, Barkley seemingly is thrown, and it more often than not results in forced throws and turnovers. UCLA's defensive line should be able to have its way with Southern Cal's offensive line.
Datone Jones and Cassius Marsh have had strong seasons, while Anthony Barr has been a force off of the edge. If Southern Cal can protect well, Barkley will have a field day against the Bruins' secondary.
If UCLA can get pressure consistently, it could be problematic for Barkley. Southern Cal's quarterback is a below-average athlete, so UCLA defensive coordinator Lou Spanos can call an aggressive game plan without the worry of Barkley taking off and scrambling to evade pressure.