The Decision


Barkley Should Stay

Markazi By Arash Markazi


MarkaziBy Arash Markazi

Before Matt Barkley sits down after this season to decide whether or not he wants to come back for his senior year, he should call his old friend Matt Leinart. He should ask him if he regrets coming back for his senior year and being a rock star in Los Angeles and leading USC to an undefeated season and the BCS national championship game at the Rose Bowl.

Sure, Leinart could have been a higher pick in the draft if he had come out a year early, but something tells me Leinart would trade his past six years in the NFL for one more season at USC.

Barkley should also call up Carson Palmer and ask him if his senior year was worth the previous four frustrating seasons (he redshirted is sophomore year) at the school. Something tells me that Heisman Trophy and Orange Bowl win his senior year quickly washed away the stains of his 5-7 sophomore year and 6-6 junior year.

This isn't so much about Barkley being ready or not for the NFL. I certainly think he is capable of playing in the NFL next year. This is about Barkley leaving USC feeling fulfilled rather than discouraged; having quarterbacked the team through a two-year bowl ban and the beginning of a five-year probation period.

Next year, Barkley has a chance to return for his senior year and finish his career in a bowl game, and if things break right for him and the team, possibly compete for a national championship and the Heisman Trophy. As it is, Barkley and USC have simply been playing for pride the last two years. Barkley has plenty of time to play on Sundays, but something tells me he'll forever regret it if he leaves USC early.

Barkley Should Go

Shelburne By Ramona Shelburne


ShelburneBy Ramona Shelburne

For the past three years Matt Barkley has done what's right for USC. He didn't transfer after Pete Carroll left for the NFL after his freshman season or after the Trojans were heavily sanctioned by the NCAA a few months later. He has been a leader both on the field and in the locker room. But now, maybe it's time for him to do the right thing for Matt Barkley.

He's already shown and done enough in college to be a first-round draft choice. If anything he's probably shown too much and might fall victim to the same problem of having too much tape for NFL scouts to evaluate -- and find issues with -- that likely dropped former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen out of the first round. Staying another year at USC will only add to that file and expose him to more risk.

If I thought Barkley had a lot more to learn and room to grow, or if USC looked like a legitimate national championship contender next season, my opinion might be different. But Barkley is already well-formed as a quarterback. His next developmental leaps will come under the supervision of NFL coaches, not under center at USC again. And the Trojans, while undoubtedly talented and exciting, will begin feeling the effects of their loss of scholarships more acutely next season. It's easy to imagine them having a good season, but a national championship will be a lot to ask.

In the end, it's a decision Barkley alone can make. I just hope he chooses what's best for him.

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