USC’s Heisman Case for Matt Barkley

I’ve invited the various schools to use to make their case for their Heisman Trophy candidate.

Each player/school will get a featured post to push their player and I’d like my readers to let it be known which argument was the strongest. I’ll put a poll on the sidebar. Please take a minute to vote. Try to be objective if you can (I know, big request).

As for you Heisman voters out there, here’s a chance to see all the arguments laid side by side. Well, at least a few of them, as not all the schools decided to make a case.

Next up is USC and Matt Barkley. Take it away, USC:


Oregon head coach Chip Kelly:  “He was the best quarterback we faced this year.  I thought Matt was outstanding.  A couple of those deep balls were right on target.  He always seemed like he had the answer.  Every time we came back and scored, he came back with an answer. ”

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times:  “Barkley, in fact, should have a seat at the Heisman table after his four-touchdown performance at Oregon, his signature win.”

Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian:  “If I’m an NFL head coach, I’d pick Matt Barkley ahead of Andrew Luck.”

Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times:  “Barkley’s statistics are Heisman-worthy.  His maturity has grown similarly.”

 USC head coach Lane Kiffin:  “I can’t imagine there are other quarterbacks out there putting up his numbers with so many young guys around him.”


                                    PA        PC        PCT      YDS     TD        INT

At Notre Dame*             35         24         .686      224       3          0

Vs. #4 Stanford             45         28         .622      284       3          1

At #4 Oregon                34         26         .765      323       4          1

TOTALS                       114       78         .684      831       10         2

*Only second USC QB to win twice in South Bend 


(cumulative and per game statistics)

                                     G          PA                    PC                    PCT      YDS                 TD        INT

Carson Palmer, 2002     13         489 (37.6)          309 (23.8)          .632      3942 (303.2)      33 (2.5) 10 (0.8)

Matt Leinart, 2004          13         412 (31.7)          269 (20.7)          .653      3322 (255.5)      33 (2.5) 6 (0.5)

Matt Barkley, 2011        11         404 (36.7)          273 (24.8)          .676      3105 (282.3)      33 (3.0) 7 (0.6)


 2011 (Junior):

 *** 273-of-404, 67.6%, 3,105 yards, 33 TDs, 7 interceptions.

*** Set 4 USC game records:  completions (34 versus Minnesota), pass yardage (468 versus Arizona), TD passes (6 versus Colorado), total offense (470 versus Arizona).

*** His 33 TD passes are tied for fourth most in the nation (third on the USC season list and tied for fifth on the Pac-12 season list).

*** His 67.6% completion rate is within range of Rob Johnson’s USC season record (68.6%, 1993).

*** 13th nationally in passing efficiency (155.6) and 21st in total offense (284.1).

*** Joined Matt Leinart as the only USC starting quarterbacks to win twice at Notre Dame.

*** Completed 76.5% of his passes (26-of-34) for 323 yards with 4 TDs in upset win at No. 4 Oregon.

*** Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week versus Syracuse (threw a USC record-tying and Syracuse opponent record-tying 5 touchdowns).

*** Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week versus Arizona (broke Carson Palmer’s USC game records for passing yards and total offense by completing 82.1% of his passes, 32-of-39, for 468 yards, with 470 yards of total offense).

*** Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week at Colorado (school-record 6 touchdown passes).


*** Third on USC’s career passing (719 completions) chart, trailing only Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, and fourth in total offense (8,596 yards).

*** Ninth on the Pac-12 career touchdown pass chart (74, second most in USC history).

*** Has thrown at least 1 TD pass in 31 of his 35 games, at least 2 TDs in 20 games, at least 3 TDs in 12 games and at least 5 TDs 4 times (the only Trojan to have done so), including once with a school record 6 TDs.

*** Has thrown for at least 200 yards in 23 career games (9 times over 300 yards).


*** Semifinalist for the 2011 Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award and, for third consecutive year, Davey O’Brien Award.

*** Finalist for the 2011 Wuerffel Trophy (given to the player who best combines athletics, academics and community service).

*** Named to the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, recognized for his commitment to making a difference in his community.

*** 2011 Pac-12 All-Academic second team.

*** Two-time USC captain (was USC’s first-ever sophomore captain in 2010).


Click here to learn about Barkley’s December 2010 visit to Nigeria, with inspiring photos and a video he edited.  It is especially appropriate this Thanksgiving week.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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One Response to USC’s Heisman Case for Matt Barkley

  1. GT Class of '76 November 22, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    BARKLEY is a great quarterback, but LUCK won head-to-head.

    BARKLEY got into the race too late.

    USC Bowl Ban will BARKLEY out of New York City.

    I see a bright future for BARKLEY whether he returns to USC or goes to the NFL.