Memo To Ohio State: Please End This Matt Barkley Nonsense on Saturday

Midwest Sports FansAnalyst ISeptember 8, 2009

Matt Barkley, the pretty boy SoCal freshman who started for USC this past Saturday, is only one game into his collegiate football career.

And after one game, I am already sick and damn tired of him.

Oh come on Jerod, you might say. He’s just a freshman, just a kid, you’ll retort. Why such palpable vitriol for a kid ten years your junior?

Are you jealous? Jealous that he has already achieved more athletically than you ever came close to? Jealous that because he’s the starting QB for USC, as opposed to some chubby Midwestern blogger, he will—to paraphrase Nate Dogg—get more ass than a toilet seat?


I’m sick and damn tired of him because he’s a cocky kid who has achieved nothing—to this point—as a collegian and yet the Pete Carroll sycophants at ESPN are already discussing his Heisman chances…for this year

Here is an excerpt from the latest ESPN drivel, which is entitled “The Heisman Predictor: Week One” but should be titled “This Article Is Worse Than Mark May’s Tie.

In fact, a win over Ohio State could put Barkley right up there with Tebow and McCoy. Sure, it would be unprecedented for a freshman to win the Heisman, but it would hardly be unprecedented for a much-hyped Trojan quarterback to walk away with the hardware. Ohio State could prove to be USC’s toughest opponent this season, meaning a win on Saturday would put the Trojans on pace for an undefeated season. If Barkley puts on a show (300+ yards, 3+ touchdowns) against the Buckeyes, he will immediately become a legitimate Heisman candidate.

So let me get this straight. If Matt Barkley has a good game against Ohio State, the same Buckeye team that—sorry Buckeye fans—allowed Navy’s QB to go 9-13 with two TDs, then he’ll be “right up there” with two of the most consistently successful QBs in college football this decade?

You have got to be f’ing kidding me.

(Note: Beano Cook could not be reached for official comment, but sources tell us that had Barkley gone to Notre Dame, Cook believes he would have trumped Ron Powlus’ three Heisman Trophies by at least one…maybe more.)

I know that Barkley is the quarterback for USC, which gives you automatic inclusion into every Heisman Watch list whether you deserve it or not, but shouldn’t any plaudits for Trojan players be squarely and solely in the direction of Joe McKnight?

To be fair, the article does mention McKnight (who popped for 145 yards and two TDs on 14 carries in Saturday’s win) but the fact that Barkley’s name is even there is ridiculous.

Barkley went 15-19 for 223 yards and a TD on Saturday. These are good numbers for sure, and certainly an auspicious beginning for a kid who obviously has some serious talent. But he wasn’t even named the starter until just a few weeks ago, and his backup Aaron Corp actually went 4-4 for 45 yards and a TD of his own.

Really says a lot about that vaunted San Jose State defense that USC was playing, huh?

And from the accounts of those who watched the game, it’s not like Barkley was lighting SJS up with a downfield aerial assault. This from Sports By Brooks:

In a first-and-only cram session before his ‘Shoe debut, Barkley oversaw an offense one could generously ascribe as ‘basic’ in the Trojans’ trucking of embarrassingly undermanned San Jose St.

Dude has played one home game. Against San Jose State. Running three different pass plays over three quarters.

The LA Daily News echoed this assessment:

In reality, USC relied heavily on its running game and asked Barkley to roll out or keep the ball on the perimeter to avoid interceptions. That interception-proof plan worked flawlessly against the hapless Spartans.

Despite the pathetic competition, Barkley actually played better than some observers expected.  As Brooks noted last week, Barkley strugged as a high school senior (throwing 18 INTs despite being last year’s version of The Greatest Quarterback Prospect EVER) and then struggled in the USC spring game.

Still, he won out over the “more polished” Corp.

But giving a freshman QB a vanilla game plan against a weak team in the hopes that he will minimize mistakes and build confidence is not a bad thing. It’s good coaching.

What is annoying is that Barkley apparently thought he and his USC teammates had carved out their yardage against the ‘85 Bears and that playing in The Horseshoe would be only a little more difficult than practice.

“We can play in Alaska in the snow, that’s how confident I am in this offense,” Barkley said. “There can be 500,000 rooting against me (next week).”

And Brooks quotes Barkley as adding:

“I don’t think that (Ohio Stadium crowd) will make a difference. The atmosphere will be nuts. I probably don’t even know how it will be. But that won’t faze me.”

Taken in a vacuum, perhaps we could just chalk these quotes up to a little bit of youthful exuberance coming on the heels of a kid’s first college win. But add the following to the list and we realize that Matt Barkley is an 18-year old kid with no college skins on the wall who is way too full of himself already:

From the LA Times (via CFT):

“That this is fun. This is easy. This is what I was made to do,” Barkley said.

I asked Barkley if there was anything that was difficult.

“The run up the tunnel at halftime,” he said. “That was brutal.”

That kind of brash cockiness is probably what endeared Barkley to Carroll, and will make him a Trojan legend if he backs it up with a career befitting such bravado. But for an outside observer like me, and one who respects and appreciates humility in his athletes, I think Barkley just sounds like the immature kid that he is.

Which is why I hope the Ohio State defense plays much better than it did this past Saturday and knocks some humility into Barkley while simultaneously putting this ridiculous Heisman talk to rest. To paraphrase Brooks, who is far more in tune with the USC landscape than I am, it will probably be the best thing that could happen to him.

Oh, and if I haven’t made enough of a case for why you should be rooting for the Buckeyes to demolish Matt Barkley this coming Saturday, he has apparently inspired the orgasmic delight of our favorite FanHouse BLOGGER Jay Mariotti (via Deadspin):

The afternoon sun was orgasmic, framing the Memorial Coliseum in a California daydream as the USC band played its triumphant post-game march. Yet nothing was more radiant than Matt Barkley’s smile. He was standing at midfield after his debut, engulfed by media wondering if an 18-year-old true freshman can be worthy of college football’s answer to a Hollywood processional: Carson Palmer to Matt Leinart to John David Booty to Mark Sanchez to…

While reading Mariotti’s Ode to Matt Barkley, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I should write this post or take the liberty of registering him for NAMBLA.

To be fair, Mariotti does make a valid point in the midst of his contribution to the unnecessary Barkley hype:

The dream, of course, quickly could turn ugly. This Saturday night, the Trojans abandon L.A.’s creature comforts and enter a hostile Horseshoe in Columbus, where Ohio State awaits in a colossal early-season test of two top-5 teams.

Exactly. And let’s hope the Buckeyes are ready, because I know of at least one non-OSU fan who will be decidedly in their corner Saturday night: me, hoping they put a stop to this Matt Barkley nonsense.

Of course, if the kid plays well and USC dominates, I will have to eat my words. But I will have no problem doing so. At least then Barkley will have one legit accomplishment on which to base his seemingly endless arrogance.

As of right now, he’s just an 18-year old freshman who is coming off of an 18-INT season as a high school senior, an underwhelming performance in the USC spring game based on expectations, and a solid but unspectacular outing as a game manager against mighty San Jose State. 

Best of luck in the Horseshoe this Saturday Matt. Something tells me it will be a little more difficult than you think.

Otherwise, it may not be long before Barkley is doing this after a touchdown pass.


* – Matt Barkley photo credit: Bobak Ha’Eri via Wikipedia


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