Matt Barkley's Return Means Rejoicing for USC Trojans

Dan VastaSenior Writer IIIDecember 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

Matt Barkley has decided to come back for his senior season at USC, and there were many reports that had him originally leaving for the NFL draft based on his spectacular junior season.

Throw in the fact that Barkley would have certainly been a top-10 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and some may be scratching their heads as to why he did indeed stay in school.

No so fast, my friend!

Barkley said it himself that this USC squad has "unfinished business," and they immediately become perennial national title contenders.

Depending on whether LaMichael James returns, the USC Trojans could—and in my book, should—be the team to eventually dethrone the bullies of college football.

Those bullies, of course, are the SEC champions that will have won six straight BCS titles. LSU will likely still be the No. 1 team in the country next preseason regardless if they defeat Alabama or not, but the Trojans should be right there next to those Bayou Bengals.

Although superstar left tackle Matt Kalil has left for the NFL draft, Barkley will have everybody else back on the line.

Oh yeah, he also has the best receiving corps returning, led by Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Running back Curtis McNeal exploded out of the backfield in the final few games and has given USC a balanced offense.

Back to Barkley’s decision and speech, because he fooled some people even though it was a foregone conclusion as soon as we knew the band was going to be there. Barkley delivered a great speech and talked about the pros and cons and how it was and still is his dream to play at the next level.

The biggest thing that stood out was Barkley made it a point of how unfairly his Trojans were punished this season in not being able to play in the first Pac-12 Championship Game or a vital bowl game (the Trojans finished fifth in final AP poll of the regular season).

USC athletic director Pat Haden and his family sat with smiles as they were all glad to see another Trojan superstar return to the landscape of college football.

Coming off his 3,528-yard and 39 TD (7 INT) season, Barkley now has his eyes on a few more historic achievements.

He may very well be the easy choice as the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy on top of playing in the BCS National Championship Game and being selected as the top pick in next year's draft.

More importantly, though, have you looked at USC’s schedule for 2012?

Nothing is cupcake city in college football, but they have several favorable and mouthwatering matchups.

They host Notre Dame (top-25) and Oregon (top-five), but their toughest road games look to be Stanford and Washington.

Throw in home games against Hawaii, Arizona State, Cal and Colorado, and you may start to feel as if it is a dream schedule.

The roadies are not a walk in the park in the new Pac-12, but Utah, UCLA and Arizona will just be fighting to stay relevant and in the bowl picture when they take on the highly ranked Trojans.

They will easily be favored in every single game as long as No. 7 is under center and healthy.

Certainly Cam Newton won the Heisman and BCS National Championship Game on top of being selected first overall, but Barkley might just be favored to do all three.

This offense may be unstoppable next season, and Lane Kiffin, offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu (formerly Polsa) and the rest of Trojans nation may have just received one of the greatest Christmas presents we have seen in years.