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Matt Barkley Should Stay at USC for His Senior Season

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans celebrates following the game against the UCLA Bruins at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. USC defeated UCLA 50-0.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Christopher JohnsonContributor IIINovember 29, 2011

Matt Barkley threw for 423 yards and six touchdowns in USC's 50-0 rout of Pac-12 South champion UCLA. That's right, the Bruins, by default, will get a shot at Oregon in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game.

But we all know who the real Pac-12 South champions is: USC. Led by Barkley, the Trojans have compiled an impressive 10-2 record. Since losing at Stanford in triple overtime a month ago, USC has rattled off four straight victories, knocking off potential BCS National Championship Game participant Oregon along the way.

The most impressive part of USC's run, though, has been the play of Barkley. The junior has an impressive 39-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio, while posting a sensational 161.9 passer rating.

More importantly, since that heartbreaker at the LA Coliseum, Barkley has outplayed the consensus No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft: Andrew Luck. Although Luck will still likely be taken as the first pick, Barkley has established himself as a sure-fire top-10 pick with his play in recent weeks.

That being said, it would behoove Barkley to stay at USC for another season.

I know it's unlikely, but think about what this USC team could do with Barkley at the helm for another season.

To start, think about this: USC is basically tearing up the Pac-12 this season, and they have absolutely nothing to play for.

Next season, with the postseason ban gone, Barkley and the Trojans will have a Rose Bowl and maybe even a National Championship in their sights.

 

Marqise Lee and Robert Woods will be the nation's best wide receiver tandem. The Trojans will also have a powerful running attack—provided that junior Curtis McNeal stays for his senior season—as well as two impressive young tight ends in Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer.

I haven't even mentioned guys like George Farmar or wide receiver Kyle Prater, both highly-touted freshmen that will make huge contributions next season.

What's more, Barkley has a chance to become the best quarterback in USC history. He will surely surpass the likes of Leinart and Palmer if he stays for his senior season.

I know it's unlikely; most quarterbacks aren't built like Andrew Luck. When the NFL comes calling, it's time to leave school. 

But Barkley should really consider following in the footsteps of Luck. The Trojan quarterback may or may not receive an invitation to New York for this year's Heisman Trophy ceremony. Regardless, he won't win it.

If he stays for his senior season, Barkley will be the odds-on favorite for the coveted award as well as the likely No. 1 pick in next year's draft. 

Putting aside the accolades and the NFL, Barkley has the chance to leave USC with a crystal ball trophy in his hands, as the greatest quarterback in school history.

With a guaranteed $20 million within his grasps, it is likely that Barkley played his final game at the Coliseum on Saturday.

But if he were to stay, just imagine what he could accomplish.

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