Thought: Barkley's Story Has The Wrong Ending

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 29, 2012


Doan Thought: Barkley's Story Has The Wrong Ending.


- Fiutak: Top NFL Prospects - GET OUT NOW
- Cirminiello: Here Come The Fired Coaches
- Zemek: Lane Kiffin Needs To Prove It
- Harrison: Here Comes The BCS Disaster
- Mitchell: Florida & Notre Dame's Direction
- Doan: Barkley's Story Has The Wrong Ending 

By Bart Doan
Follow me @Bart_cfn

When they write it up a decade or so from now, the last chapter of the book won’t fit the feel good previous 300 pages when it comes to Matt Barkley.

That much was assured this weekend.

A lot of people were worried that Lane Kiffin wouldn’t be able to carry on some of the things that Pete Carroll built. Much to their happiness, in recruiting and maybe hubris, he has. Much to their unhappiness, losing to teams with inferior talent inexplicably was also something he chose to not leave behind. But whether you like or dislike Southern Cal, you have to feel bad for Barkley after this weekend’s 36-39 setback in Tucson.

Once upon a time, Barkley was a freshman QB with the world and four years in front of him, starting for arguably the most glamorous school in college football. Then, during his first collegiate offseason, the story took a salty turn. Southern Cal was hammered with (admittedly non-evidenced based) sanctions that would pelt Barkley’s career with no bowl appearances until potentially his senior year. Who would have blamed him for skipping town? After all, bowl games are the March Madness of NFL draft prospecting. Have a big bowl game, your draft stock gets bloated all Kirk Snyder style.

That’s not who Barkley was. He wanted to assure that USC would overcome these sanctions, and what offensive talent wouldn’t want to be surrounded by a future NFL top five pick in college to help enhance their skills? So they came, with Barkley helping to recruit. Robert Woods. Marqise Lee. This was supposed to be the year.

It’s not, apparently. And it won’t end up being that way. Even a title in the stout Pac-12 won’t undo the sting of being ranked No. 1 coming into the season, one that Barkley stuck around for...again...this time after being called the potential #2 pick in the NFL draft. Such are expectations at USC, be them realistic or not. The reality is, losing 30 scholarships over a three year span, plus a lack of bowl bids to woo student athletes at the top shelf level, USC has lost and lagged everywhere but the skill positions. Credit the NCAA with two So. Cal losses this season, perhaps.

And certainly, to editorialize, it’s sad. Barkley’s actions spoke of a guy who is a pure leader, someone you want your student athletes to follow along with in mindset. Giving up personal accolades and television appearances to see the bigger picture, which was to see his Trojans through. Somewhere, there’s probably another Matt Barkley, but wherever he is, he’s a diamond in the rough.

Being a great quarterback often isn’t about the tangibles. The arm strength, the lineage, the physical stats. Often it’s about the immeasurables, like leadership, heart, and desire to treat oneself smaller than the individual game. It’s rare, and in the case of Matt Barkley, it often isn’t rewarding.

Like a reality TV love show, where your wife is on the edge of her seat hoping the girl picks Billy instead of Seth, but she picks Seth...the end often doesn’t fit the script. After a loss to Arizona, the tale of Matt Barkley is one that ends badly on a cheap VH1 show.

- Fiutak: Top NFL Prospects - GET OUT NOW
- Cirminiello: Here Come The Fired Coaches
- Zemek: Lane Kiffin Needs To Prove It
- Harrison: Here Comes The BCS Disaster
- Mitchell: Florida & Notre Dame's Direction
- Doan: Barkley's Story Has The Wrong Ending