Is Matt Barkley, getting a congratulatory hug from actor Will Ferrell after USC's victory over Ohio State, the best thing to arrive on the Trojan campus since sliced bread? It's clear that coach Pete Carroll is infatuated with the freshman, but reporters who cover the team were stunned when he was named the starter over Aaron Corp.
Nonetheless, the hype machine has been running 24-7 after Barkley guided USC on a 14-play, 86-yard drive for the winning touchdown against Ohio State.
But the Daily Trojan's Pedro Moura has courageously stepped up to write what insiders have been whispering for weeks: It's too early to crown Barkley the King of Troy.
Moura writes: "He completed 15 of 31 of his passes in the game — 48 percent, which would’ve been good for ninth in the Pac-10 last season — and some of the misses were glaring.
"Remember that interception?
"He bootlegged and saw a minute opening and then delivered an ill-advised, across-the-body pass to tight end senior Anthony McCoy that was picked off by Ohio State’s linebacker Ross Homan.
"He has made that very mistake at least five times in practice this year. You wouldn't see a fully matured quarterback make that throw unless he’s Brett Favre.
"What about the overthrows? Nearly every time the Buckeye defensive line put significant pressure on him, Barkley missed his target.
"And tell me, please, how exactly he grew up during 'The Drive.'
"Was it the swing route to junior running back Joe McKnight that aged him so? It was a glorified run play that McKnight turned into a big gain.
"Or the nine-yard out to redshirt junior wide receiver Damian Williams? We all know that every quarterback on the team could've made that throw.
"The QB sneaks? Nice, but are they really what makes a quarterback a star?
"No. Let’s be frank: Barkley made one exceptional throw — the 26-yard missile to McCoy that sliced through double coverage. It was a great throw on first down that moved the chains.
"Nice? Yes. Worthy of anointing that as 'The Drive?'
"Most certainly not.
"Barkley had a good performance — nothing more. If Mark Sanchez had stayed for his senior season and completed 15-of-31 for 195 yards against the Buckeyes, his head would've been called for on a stick."
Thanks to Image of Sport.