USC Trojans Should Sit Matt Barkley For Sun Bowl

By James Gomez
Matt Barkley USC Trojans
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

According to USC Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin, Matt Barkley is going to start in the upcoming Sun Bowl. Let me place a request I know the coach will have no interest in hearing. Do the quarterback one final favor and sit Matt for the game.

Barkley has had an excellent collegiate career for the Trojans and will be talked about as one of the greatest signal-callers to don the cardinal and gold. What a great way to say thank you for four seasons of service than to let Barkley end his career.

Barkley has nothing to gain and everything to lose by playing in the Sun Bowl against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Coming off a shoulder injury that prevented Barkley from suiting up for the big game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, it would be a shame to trot him out for a glorified exhibition game.

The time has come for both Barkley and USC to think about the future. Having Barkley finish his career with a bowl win would be a nice image for fans in southern California  I have a better image, beating Georgia Tech with freshman quarterback Max Wittek.

Barkley should be extremely worried about either re-injuring his shoulder, or at least, just being plain injured. The NFL Draft is just four months away and a the USC QB has already done enough to hurt his stock. A great game will not erase the demons of 2012.

This is where Kiffin must show he values his players post-Trojan aspirations. Given the current state of USC football, 2013 is more valuable than a Barkley bowl win in El Paso. I understand the argument that Barkley has only appeared in one bowl game as a freshman, and starting a game New Year’s Eve would mean everything to him. Would it really?

Wittek could use the extra practices and game to prepare for next year. Excuse me for sounding a little crass but prep phenoms do not go to Troy to play in the Sun Bowl. I know Barkley didn’t. There is no shame in letting Barkley work as a player coach and mentor his predecessor.

There is shame in risking the young man’s future to beat a bowl team with a losing record.

James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America. You can follow James on Twitter as well.

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