While many will look to Marqise Lee and De’Anthony Thomas, or the strength of the defenses in the USC-Oregon game today, it’ll likely be decided by quarterback play. The Ducks bring in a freshman quarterback that is impressing more and more people each week, while the Trojans have the most popular signal caller in college football, and one that has played a disappointing eight games given the lofty expectations put on his shoulders.
In his team’s two losses, Barkley’s passer rating is 128.5, good for 71st in the nation overall if he did that each week. For comparison’s sake, that would put him just above Washington State’s Jeff Tuel, who has faced a considerable amount of criticism from Mike Leach on his struggles in the air raid offense.
How’s Barkley doing in wins? Well, he has a 181.0 rating, which would put him just behind Alabama’s A.J. McCarron for second in the nation.
Considering that McCarron is getting Heisman attention based strictly on his efficiency in tandem with Alabama’s record, and not for flashy play or hype, it only makes you wonder where Barkley’s Heisman stock would be if he didn’t perform poorly in Palo Alto and Tucson.
Last season against Oregon, Barkley had one of his best games of his career, a phrase that was able to be said numerous times in the second half of last season, and since his near-perfect game at Notre Dame.
If Barkley can replicate his four-touchdown performance against Oregon last season, the Trojans will have a incredible chance to shake up the BCS landscape, giving the Ducks their first loss. But before thoughts of an upset can be considered, Barkley will have to prove that he’s able to put it all together again, and answer the bell.
He’s yet to be that field general or even a clutch quarterback at Troy. Here’s his opportunity to show he has the heart to complete his career on a high note.