Despite the fact that backup quarterback and redshirt freshman Max Wittek will start on Saturday against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, coach Lane Kiffin insists that Matt Barkley will suit up and play for the Trojans in their bowl game.
Barkley will miss this game against Notre Dame, the last home game of his college career, due to a separated shoulder. We don’t really know yet what to expect from Wittek as he has only made cameo appearances in his two years at USC so far, but this game will undoubtedly speak volumes of what to expect from him in the future.
Like in a bowl game, for example.
It seems a bit premature for Kiffin to say that Barkley will get the start in the bowl game because we haven’t yet seen how Wittek rises to occasion. If we are being honest, Barkley has left much to be desired this season in terms of dealing with pressure and putting the team on his back; who’s to say that Wittek couldn’t fair better than him in those two regards?
If Wittek leads USC to victory over the No. 1-ranked Fighting Irish in his first ever collegiate start, one could argue that he would have earned the right to start in the bowl game, too. Barkley obviously has more experience under his belt, but his track record of recent doesn’t do much to instill faith in him to get it done.
Either way, Kiffin has handed down his official decision on the matter and Barkley will indeed be back to lead the troops come bowl season. It will be interesting to see, however, if that decision changes based on the result of Saturday’s game.