Matt Barkley: Why Returning Does Not Yield a National Championship

Nikhil BaradwajSenior Analyst IDecember 22, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans conducts the band after the game with the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 50-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Today, Matt Barkley returned for his senior season in a rousing news conference that was even broadcast on ESPN. It seemed like Barkley really enjoys USC and wants to complete his degree.

I think you cannot fault him for liking college and that Matt made a fine decision to stay at USC.

When talking about a championship, Barkley often referred to "unfinished business" at USC. After T.J. McDonald, USC's All-American safety, also announced his return, it seemed as if many of the veterans would stay one more year to win a championship.

I completely understand Barkley's rationale. With Stanford losing Andrew Luck and Oregon possibly losing LaMichael James, coupled with another strong recruiting class, USC will be the creme of the crop in the Pacific-12 and the nation.

However, returning for a senior season does not always yield a title and rarely has over the past few years. 

I will give you three marquee quarterbacks who returned for another season after their draft stock was extremely high.

Matt Leinart, Sam Bradford and Andrew Luck all decided to stay another season, in pursuit of more championships and accolades in college. However, all three of them did not win a Heisman Trophy nor did they win a national championship. 

Leinart and the Trojans lost in possibly the greatest college game ever, losing the Rose Bowl (National Championship) to Texas and Vince Young.

Sam Bradford was injured in the first game against BYU and Oklahoma stumbled to a Sun Bowl berth.

Andrew Luck and Stanford had a successful season, but did not accomplish their preseason goals of winning the Pacific-12 title. In addition, Luck failed to win the Heisman.

Look, Matt Barkley will be drafted highly in the 2013 NFL Draft if he stays healthy and puts up similar numbers next year.

However, returning does not yield a title. In fact, it seems as if it is harder to win when everyone is gunning for you.

USC will return back to the national championship picture next year and rightfully so after the players had to suffer through two years of sanctions.

The question is if they will be playing on that Monday and if Barkley made the right decision to stay.