Notre Dame Football: Matt Barkley's Injury Hurts Irish's BCS Title Chances

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIINovember 17, 2012

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 17:  Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans is escorted off the field after a sack by the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl on November 17, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  The UCLA Bruins beat the USC Trojans 38-28.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

If Matt Barkley's injured arm isn't healed for the November 24 matchup with Notre Dame, it will dull a potential win by the Irish.

Barkley suffered the injury in USC's 38-28 defeat to UCLA on Saturday. The fact that the Trojans picked up their fourth loss of the season before the Irish came to Southern California is a bummer for the Irish's strength of schedule.

Judging by the way Barkley looks in this tweet and Instagram from ESPN's Beto Duran, it looks like the injury definitely threatens Barkley's immediate availability.

Matt Barkley leaves Rose Bowl w right shoulder in sling "we dont talk about injuries" #usc

— Beto Duran (@DuranSports) November 18, 2012


Duran's follow-up tweet carries a quote from Barkley who sounds like he's put a period on his USC career:

Matt Barkley if regrets coming back "no. Nothing can do now. Can't pout .Isnt how expected it to turn out"

— Beto Duran (@DuranSports) November 18, 2012

The chances that Notre Dame will be facing freshman Max Wittek seem fairly high.

The Irish did what they were supposed to do on Saturday by destroying Wake Forest 38-0. If Barkley doesn't play next week, you'd have to say Notre Dame is a healthy favorite against USC.

Even if they defeat the Trojans, and either Kansas State or Oregon lose, would a win be enough to propel them into the top two? The question gets even more intriguing when you consider the winner of the SEC championship would have an excellent résumé as well.

The Trojans still have the weapons to give Notre Dame a problem. If the game is close and Barkley doesn't play, the win won't put a stamp on the season the way the Irish need it to. 

I'd have to say the winner of the SEC championship would deserve to leap frog Notre Dame if the Irish barely defeat a Barkley-less USC team. How could a team with wins over Florida and Alabama (Georgia) or LSU and Georgia (Alabama) not deserve to move ahead of Notre Dame?

Conspiracy theorists say a 12-0 Notre Dame team is going to play for a BCS title, but the facts are they need to have Kansas State or Oregon lose. However, that may not even be enough now. The Irish need to handily defeat USC to compensate for Barkley's absence.

It's going to be an interesting two weeks of college football.


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