USC-Ohio State: How Matt Barkley's Starting Status Affects the Matchup

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IAugust 27, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 25: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans hands off the ball during the spring game on April 25, 2009 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  The cardinal team won 16-10.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)

ESPN reported just moments ago on College Football Live that true freshman QB Matt Barkley has out-seated redshirt junior Aaron Corp for the starting job at USC.

This comes as a mild surprise due to Corp's recent fibula injury and Barkley's rapid progress in the spring and fall camps.

However, starting a true freshman at QB is an unprecedented move in the Pete Carroll era at USC. But no mistake, Carroll has not misfired much when it comes to starting certain personnel.

The early reports are that Barkley will start against San Jose St. in USC's opener, but it did not confirm whether he would start also in the September 12 rematch against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

So what does this mean if Barkley makes his second start in Columbus?

Alot of it has to do with the stable of running backs USC has in CJ Gable, Joe McKnight, and Stafon Johnson.

Expect USC to run the football early in games to give young Barkley some confidence and open up USC's great play-action offense.

And with a great offensive line anchored by Kristopher O'Dowd and Jeff Byers, they should give him plenty of time to get the football out to skilled playmakers Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson.

With the playmakers and offensive linemen the Trojans have at their disposal, Barkley might just be asked to play smart, simple football and just distribute the ball to let the playmakers do what they do best.

This now means that Barkley will be the starter for Saturday's mock game in USC along with the opener on Sept. 5. And unless he fails against the Spartans or is injured, expect his second start to come in the Horseshoe, not the most hospitable of stadiums in college football.

This no doubt is an interesting move by Pete Carroll, but if he thinks his freshman QB, the top prospect by many recruiting services in 2009, gives him the best chance to win, that is who he is going with.

So what does this mean for the Buckeyes if Barkley does indeed start at the Shoe in Week 2?

Ohio State features one of the best defensive lines in the country and a young, but fast and hard-hitting linebacker corps ready to fight for playing time.

Look for them to try to get to Barkley early and confuse the freshman in order to force turnovers.

More, no doubt, will be revealed after the scrimmage in Los Angeles this weekend and USC's opener.

But now, there is more than enough significance that both the top QBs from each of the past two recruiting classes, Barkley and OSU's Terrelle Pryor are on a collision course in Columbus.

OSU fans, be warned that just because Barkley is a freshman doesn't guarantee anything whatsoever. The fact that he beat out two upperclass QBs at one of the top schools in the country for football says a lot in itself.

Barkley has potential to be the next top pick from USC, and he is getting his indoctrination right away. But he has a lot of great talent that will help take a lot of pressure off of him with the USC offense.


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