Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

Category: Heisman Trophy

USC football: Trojans early preseason No. 1, veteran columnist says


Bruce Feldman, a veteran college football columnist who joined last year, has installed USC as the No. 1 team in his early preseason rankings.

Times college football columnist Chris Dufresne last week ranked USC No. 2 behind Louisiana State going into the 2012 season.

Feldman pointed to USC's offensive experience -- quarterback Matt Barkley, receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee and tailback Curtis McNeal -- and the return of the entire starting back seven on defense.

He noted that replacements must be found on the offensive and defensive lines, but still put the Trojans ahead of LSU and Alabama, who played in the Bowl Championship Series title game last week.

"I realize that it probably seems foolish to list anyone other than an SEC team in the No. 1 spot," Feldman wrote, "but if there's any college QB up for such an undertaking, it's Barkley, and he's got the weapons to pull it off."

USC opens its season Sept. 1 against Hawaii.


Harold Miner's jersey to be retired by USC

USC to begin spring drills with thinner backfield

For USC, UCLA, records are down but emotions are high

--Gary Klein

Photo: Quarterback Matt Barkley and Coach Lane Kiffin are two reasons USC fans are optimistic about next season. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times.

USC football: Pat Haden says Matt Barkley is in 'no hurry'

After meeting with Matt Barkley and his parents, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said the quarterback was "a savvy kid" and that he expected Barkley would make an informed decision regarding his future.

Haden and Coach Lane Kiffin met with Barkley and his parents on Monday, just after the announcement of the Heisman Trophy finalists. Barkley was not among the five players invited to New York for Saturday's Heisman ceremony.

Barkley is weighing whether to turn pro or to return to USC for a final season.

"He's in no hurry," Haden said. "I met with him and I have no idea what decision he’s going to make."

Haden said Barkley would consider "extremely good advice" from a variety of sources before making a decision. Players have until mid-January to declare for the draft.

"I just said, 'You know the advantages of going, we all recognize those. If you come back, here are the advantages,'" Haden said. "He’s aware of those too.

"Hes a savvy kid. He knows both sides.... So he’s got finals coming up, he's going to get those behind him and then I think he’s going to be reflective. He's not going to rush into it and I think he’s going to make a very thoughtful decision."

--Gary Klein


Heisman finalists: Who will win the trophy Saturday night?

When the five Heisman Trophy finalists gather in Manhattan for the presentation ceremony Saturday night, there is sure to be more suspense than last year, when everyone knew Auburn's Cam Newton would win in a landslide.

Stanford's Andrew Luck, who finished second to Newton by 1,184 points last year, is the only returning finalist. He entered the season as the overwhelming favorite to win the trophy and had another great season, passing for 3,170 yards with 35 touchdowns while leading the Cardinal to an 11-1 record.

But some stiff competition has emerged, particularly from Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III as the current favorite. With the nation's top passer rating (192.3), Griffin threw for 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns and ran for 644 yards and nine touchdowns in leading the long-struggling Bears to a 9-3 record.

Wisconsin's Montee Ball needs just one more touchdown to match Barry Sanders' NCAA season record of 39. Ball, who will have a shot at that record against Oregon in the Rose Bowl, is fourth in the nation with 135.3 rushing yards per game and has 12 more touchdowns than any other player.

Trent Richardson hopes to follow in the footsteps of another Alabama running back, Mark Ingram, who won the Heisman two years ago. Richardson is fifth in the nation in rushing at 131.9 yards per game and tied for fifth in touchdowns with 23 for the Crimson Tide, who will play in the BCS title game.

LSU, Alabama's opponent in the championship game, will be represented by defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who has forced five fumbles, intercepted two passes and scored four touchdowns. He also missed a game after being suspended for violating the team's drug policy.

Who do you think will get to strike that famous Heisman pose on Saturday night? Vote in the poll and leave a comment explaining your choice.


USC's Matt Barkley is not a finalist for Heisman Trophy

Chris Dufresne: In the BCS standings, close doesn't count

UCLA coach search continues as Al Golden indicates no interest

-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: The first 1935 Downtown Athletic Club trophy, renamed the Heisman Memorial Trophy the following year. Credit: Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press

USC football: Matt Barkley selected as team MVP


Quarterback Matt Barkley was announced as USC's most valuable player at the Trojans' football awards banquet Monday night.

Barkley passed for 39 touchdowns, with seven interceptions, and helped lead the Trojans to a 10-2 record. He established school and conference records for touchdowns in a season.

Barkley had hoped to be among the finalists for the Heisman Trophy, but he was not among the five players announced Monday. They were: Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and Alabama running back Trent Richardson.

Here is a list of USC team award winners:

Most Valuable Player: quarterback Matt Barkley
Most Inspirational Player: defensive tackle Christian Tupou
Leadership Award: fullback Rhett Ellison
Linemen of the Year: offensive tackle Matt Kalil, defensive end Nick Perry
Perimeter Players of the Year: wide receiver Robert Woods, safety T.J. McDonald
Special Teams Player of the Year: fullback Ross Cumming
Service Team Players of the Year: offensive guard Cyrus Hobbi, linebacker Anthony Sarao
Player of the Game versus Notre Dame: cornerback Nickell Robey
Player of the Game versus UCLA: wide receiver Marqise Lee
Jack Oakie “Rise and Shine” Award (year’s longest run): tailback Curtis McNeal (79 yards vs. Washington)
Howard Jones/Football Alumni Club Academic Award (overall academic achievement): linebacker Augusto Alonso
Bob Chandler Award (underclassman with outstanding athletic ability, academic achievement and character): linebacker Hayes Pullard
John McKay Award (underclassman with the most competitive spirit): Robey
Joe Collins Walk-on Award: punter Kyle Negrete
Courage Award: tailback Curtis McNeal
Co-Lifters Award: Ellison, safety Jawanza Starling

--Gary Klein

Photo: Quarterback Matt Barkley celebrates USC's 50-0 victory over UCLA at the Coliseum. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

USC football: Matt Barkley meets with Lane Kiffin and Pat Haden


USC quarterback Matt Barkley and his parents met Monday with Coach Lane Kiffin and Athletic Director Pat Haden to discuss his impending decision about whether to turn pro or return to USC for a final season.

"By no means did I come to any conclusions today," Barkley said in a statement. "It was just the start of us gathering the facts.  There is a long way to go in this process and no timetable.  When I make my decision, I will let everyone know."

Barkley was not among the finalists announced Monday for the Heisman Trophy.

Wisconsin running back Monte Ball, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Louisiana State defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and Alabama running back Trent Richardson are finalists for an award that will be presented Saturday in New York.

Minutes after the announcement, Barkley wrote on his Twitter feed: "Congrats to all the Heisman finalists, what a great year of football!"

Later, in a statement he said: "Congratulations to all the Heisman finalists. They are all great players, and I wish them the best this Saturday and with the rest of their football careers.  I thought we gave it a good run this year to get an invitation to New York for the ceremony, but more importantly I am really excited that our team's accomplishments are being recognized."

USC finished fifth in the final Associated Press media poll.

More later at


Matt Barkley not a Heisman Trophy finalist

Quarterback Matt Barkley starts testing NFL waters

Matt Barkley's potential replacement ready to step up for USC

--Gary Klein

Photo: USC Coach Lane Kiffin discusses a play with quarterback Matt Barkley during a game this season. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

USC football: Matt Barkley not among Heisman Trophy finalists

FabforumUSC quarterback Matt Barkley was not among the finalists announced Monday for the Heisman Trophy.

Wisconsin running back Monte Ball, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Louisiana State defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and Alabama running back Trent Richardson are finalists for an award that will be presented Dec. 10 in New York.

Barkley passed for 39 touchdowns, with seven interceptions, and led the Trojans to a 10-2 record.

USC is not eligible to participate in a bowl game because of NCAA sanctions related to former Heisman winner Reggie Bush. The sanctions made USC ineligible for the Pac-12 Conference title game, which would have given Barkley a final opportunity to sway Heisman voters last Friday.

Barkley, a junior, was making a push for Heisman consideration after dynamic performances against Oregon and UCLA.

Barkley passed for four touchdowns in the Trojans' 38-35 upset of Oregon at Eugene, Ore.

He passed for six touchdowns in a 50-0 rout of UCLA, tying his own school record for touchdown passes in a game and breaking the Pac-12 record of 38 touchdown passes in a season set by Heisman winner Matt Leinart in 2003.

Barkley is weighing whether to make himself available for the NFL draft or return for a final college season.

More later at


Matt Barkley is a fan of Tim Tebow

USC's Matt Barkley starts testing NFL waters

Matt Barkley's potential replacement ready to step up for USC

--Gary Klein

Photo: Matt Barkley during the 50-0 win over UCLA. Credit: Associated Press.

USC football: Matt Barkley's nominees for the Heisman Trophy


USC quarterback Matt Barkley does not have a vote for the Heisman Trophy, there are three names he would like to see on his ballot: Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and, well, Matt Barkley.

"I don't know if there's an order," he said in an interview, grinning. "I haven't watched all those games. … Not everyone gets to watch me either. The UCLA game was on at 10 o'clock on the East Coast. Who's going to stay up and watch that?"

Barkley tied his own school record by passing for six touchdowns in the Trojans’ 50-0, season-ending victory over UCLA. He finished with a Pac-12 Conference record 39 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.

Barkley hopes to be among the Heisman finalists when the winner is announced Dec. 10 in New York.

"I definitely think I should be in the running," Barkley said. "It's been a dream of mine and something I set at the beginning of this year to accomplish."


Matt Barkley is a fan of Tim Tebow

USC's Matt Barkley starts testing NFL waters

Sam Farmer: Many obstacles remain before NFL returns to Los Angeles

— Gary Klein

Photo: Matt Barkley celebrates after USC defeated UCLA, 50-0. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times


USC quarterback Matt Barkley has become a Tim Tebow fan


Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow might be a polarizing figure, but he has lately added another member to his fan base: USC’s Matt Barkley.

Despite criticism over his lack of a prototypical NFL skill-set, Tebow has led the Broncos to a 5-1 record since becoming the starter, including a 16-13 overtime victory over the San Diego Chargers last week.

"I find it so intriguing," said Barkley, who passed for 39 touchdowns this season. "I haven’t really respected his quarterback play for the longest time just because I like typical drop-back quarterbacks, that’s just who I am.

"I mean, I loved Matt Ryan when he was in college. But I love Tim for who he is and for how he’s a gamer. He wins games. No matter how he does it, I mean, he’s doing it and that’s what you want to do when you’re playing football."

Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007. As Barkley told me in this report, he is hoping to be among the Heisman finalists when the winner is announced Dec. 10 in New York.

Like Tebow, Barkley has a strong Christian faith.

"I think he does it in a good manner, to where he stands up for what he believes in," Barkley said of Tebow. "I think now that he’s finally putting his work on the field he’s getting a little more respect for it."

Barkley is weighing whether to return to USC for a final collegiate season or to make himself available for the NFL draft.

If he returns to the Trojans, Barkley said he would not use the platform for evangelical purposes.

"That’s not my personality," he said. "I’m not so outspoken like that. I’ve always kind of been somebody who keeps to myself. I would keep the same platform I have, speaking to people, to kids, but not much more than after a game saying, 'Praise God.' I don’t think I’d take it that far."


USC's Matt Barkley starts testing NFL waters

Mitch Kupchak confident as Lakers prepare to go back to work

Sam Farmer: Many obstacles remain before NFL returns to Los Angeles

-- Gary Klein

Photo: Matt Barkley. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / U.S. Presswire

USC football: Matt Barkley, Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow talk quarterback sneak

USC pulled off perhaps the most famous quarterback sneak in college football history when Reggie Bush assisted Matt Leinart into the end zone with the so-called "Bush Push" at Notre Dame in 2005.

Leinart, current Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow are among the voices in a story about the art of the quarterback sneak play in ESPN The Magazine.

Some excerpts from the conversation-style story:

"I just called "Kill!" in the huddle and everyone knew what we had to do."

-- Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos quarterback

"It's not just a meathead play. There is an art to it. You have to know what the defense is going to do before the ball is snapped, know certain guys will slant a certain way when we're in an empty set or that a team doesn't load the box in the red zone."

-- Matt Barkley, USC quarterback

"I think I had six rushing touchdowns my senior year at USC and three were QB sneaks from the 1-yard line. I stole a lot of TDs."

-- Matt Leinart, Houston Texans quarterback


Curtis McNeal hurt; Dillon Baxter pulls ahead at tailback

USC's Kennedy Polamalu is going back to his roots

-- Gary Klein

Photo: USC quarterback Matt Barkley. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times

USC football: Lane Kiffin scheduled to appear at NCAA hearing

USC football Coach Lane Kiffin is scheduled to appear before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions on Saturday, facing allegations that stem from his short tenure at Tennessee but which might lead to penalties that could affect the Trojans.

Kiffin’s appearance in Indianapolis is part of a broader hearing into Tennessee’s athletic department, which was the subject of a 22-month investigation that led to the firing of basketball coach Bruce Pearl and the resignation of athletic director Mike Hamilton.

Kiffin has declined to comment.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden and David Roberts, USC’s vice president for athletic compliance, will attend the hearing. Haden said this week that, if asked, he would tell the Committee on Infractions that Kiffin has been “nothing but compliant” during his time at USC.

“It’s a bit part, not a starring role,” Haden said.

Continue reading »

Reggie Bush's Heisman Trophy won't go to anyone else


The Heisman Trophy Reggie Bush gave up won't be going to any other player, award organizers announced Wednesday.

The statement from the Heisman Trust:

"The Trustees of the Trust have been monitoring the NCAA investigation of Reggie Bush and USC since first announced. We determined that no action was necessary by the Trust unless and until the NCAA acted and issued its report. Since the issuance of the NCAA decision vacating USC's 2005 season and declaring Reggie Bush an ineligible athlete, the Trustees have met, discussed and reviewed all information underlying this decision in an effort to exercise the due diligence and due process required of any decision regarding the awarding of the 2005 Heisman Trophy.

"We are very appreciative of the respect Reggie Bush demonstrated for the Heisman Trust, the whole Heisman fraternity, and the continuing legacy of the Trophy in his public statement issued September 14, 2010. It was a difficult decision to return the Heisman Trophy and he exhibited great character in acknowledging his mistakes and accepting the consequences. We intend to explore further his offer to support jointly 'an educational program which will assist student athletes and their families' to avoid the pitfalls that plagued him during his college years as this is a part of our charitable mission as well.

"As a result of Reggie Bush's decision to forfeit his title as Heisman winner of 2005, the Trustees have determined that there will be no Heisman Trophy winner for the year 2005."

Texas Coach Mack Brown had been championing the idea of the award going to former Longhorns quarterback Vince Young, who finished second in the balloting. (USC's Matt Leinart, the 2004 Heisman winner, was third.)

Earlier Wednesday, Young issued this statement via Twitter: "just heard about Reggie's Heisman. Reg will continue to be the 2005 Award recipient and I will continue to be honored to have been in the 2005 Heisman campaign with such a talented athlete."

That was a bit of a flip from what Young reportedly said Monday, which is that he wanted the Heisman.

-- Mike Hiserman

Photo: In this 2005 photo, Heisman Trophy finalists quarterback Vince Young, left, of Texas, and running back Reggie Bush of USC pose for a photo with the Heisman Trophy. Young finished a distant second to Bush in the voting that year. Credit: Julie Jacobson, AP.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About the Reporters
Sports Now is written by the entire Sports department of the L.A. Times.

Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.



Bleacher Report | Los Angeles

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More on Bleacher Report »

Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: