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Barkley/Ohio State lets discuss

with 5 comments

This is the first non-ESPN type post I have made on here but for the 2-3 people that actually read this blog I think this should be a rant post.  The other day I was speaking with a co-worker of mine about the outcome of the USC and OSU game.  I proceeded to give him my view that the game was good but bordered on what was becoming a battle to see who’s defense could mess up more.  After thinking about it and reading some commentary from different sports writers I realized the error in my ways and saw it was more of a defensive battle in which both teams did superb.  I think that I was overtaken by the hype that was generated in that it was going to be an offensive battle.  Seeing that both Pryor and Barkley had so-so statistical games made that hype feel like even more of a let down after watching the game.  Don’t get me wrong I had a good time watching the game and the ending was very enjoyable to all football fans,  I am just saying I was expecting more Leinart vs Young.

Anyways, the argument that I put out there for the co-worker was that Barkley was not that good.  Plain and simple on paper he didn’t have a USC  caliber game.  No if, ands or buts it was nothin that would turn heads.  He threw 15 for 31 for less than 200 yards, that is a completion percentage of 48.4 with no TD’s and 1 interception.  He also averaged just over 1 yard a carry rushing on 8 attempts.  That kind of performance produces a QB rating of 94.77.  I know what you are saying, so what its just numbers.  My answer is YES its numbers its statistics that measure how someone does in a game.  Without these we don’t have history to compare these new blooming QB’s to.  Granted Terrelle Pryor didn’t have a stellar game either, as a matter of fact if i were to compare I would say Pryor had a better game (barely) He put up less than superb numbers as well 25 of 46 for 351 yards, that’s a completion percentage of 54.3 with 1 TD and 2 interceptions.  He averaged 3.6 yards rushing on 10 attempts.  His performance produced a QB rating of 116.92.  Like I said only numbers but they seem to back up my point that they both had so-so games and Pryor had a little bit better of a game with the exception that USC won.

Now my co-worker replied to my statement with one of his own stating that the stats were secondary to the impact that Barkley had on the outcome of the game.  I initially refuted him and said no way, after thinking about it I would like to agree with him but only partly.  Yes Barkley was more influential on the outcome than I gave him credit for (i.e. his heroic game winning drive)  but the other side that I do not agree with is that stats are never secondary to gauging someone.  You have to remember when you think of stuff like stats and QB’s there are exceptions to rules, its true there are great QB’s out there that were great on the field but not on paper.  I however do not think Barkley will never turn out be one of those people when and if he goes pro or even now as his college career progresses.  I reinforced my argument with this statement “A game winning drive a great QB does not make.”  Meaning just because someone can conjure up something like a great last minute drive against a great defense to win the game on the road does not mean he is new greatness.  Look at the facts

1. He spent the whole game trying to get something going. Over 3 1/2 quarters with a meager performance from Barkey.

2. USC did not even beat the spread which was 7 1/2 points.

3. He was bailed out on the last drive more than once by Running back Joe McKnight who seems to be the real deal and we will see if thats true in the games to come.

I know I seem like I am a USC hater, I most definitely am on most days but I do give credit where credit is due.  I have never bagged on Pete Carroll for sucking at coaching and Reggie Bush for not being a good Running Back.  I also never said anything Negative about Sanchez while he was there.  I just like healthy arguments about football, not its on to you all that read this.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE respond, I made this pretty opinionated to generate conversation.  Not to put my co-worker on blast on the internet, I think he knows a lot about football.  Particularly Big-10 and USC football.  I just felt he wasn’t right on this one point and wanted to know people’s view on this issue.  I really hope he posts on it since he said he would.


Written by Jon Castano

September 15, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Posted in Commentary

5 Responses

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  1. I think it’s a little of both, in this case. The defenses played well, and there’s no doubt that both QBs made some pretty big mistakes. Though I think I give more credit than you do to playing big when they need to play big. Vince Young didn’t always post eye-popping numbers, but he made big plays with the game on the line. In last year’s Fiesta Bowl, Colt McCoy made lots of really dumb plays, rushing 8 times for -15 yards and throwing one INT that was reminiscent of Chris Simms in his heyday. Nevertheless, he came through in the clutch and led them on a game-winning drive. That counts for a lot. So, Barkley definitely gets some credit, especially for doing against such a good defense in such a hostile atmosphere.

    That said, I’ll hold up Terrelle Pryor as a warning not to let the hype precede the proof. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves with Barkley as many have with Pryor. I’m not saying Pryor won’t be great. He certainly has the tools to be. But, in the two biggest games of his career to date (last year’s Fiesta Bowl and last week’s USC game), he’s 16-for-38 passing for 243 yards, zero TDs and one INT. He also has 25 rushes for 114 yards, again with ZERO TDs. People conveniently forget that Chris Wells and Todd Boeckman were the reason OSU almost upset UT last year. Not Pryor, who had more TDs receiving (1) than he has managed to produce with either his legs or arm in his two biggest games. Gaining less than 200 yards of total offense and not a single TD in big games isn’t the kind of thing you really write about.

    It might change, but what I see so far is a young man with great potential who doesn’t step up in big games. Kornheiser was right in his assessment of OSU’s offense as a pedestrian one. Despite all their talent, they don’t score points. Pryor might be good, for now he’s just a guy with lots of hype and nothing to show for it. Only time will tell if Barkley falls into that trap, like John David Booty did.


    September 16, 2009 at 3:30 am

  2. The problem with using stats to measure the success of a football player is that you have to decide which ones to use, a biased process at best and an entirely misleading one at worst. I think you are entirely correct that Barkley’s quarterback rating, pass efficiency percentage, and his rushing average (really? we’re measuring this?) in the game against Ohio State were all unimpressive. But what about third down conversions? Fourth down conversions? Time of possession? How about wins? Things like quarterback rating are very useful when comparing trends or one quarterback to another, especially over a long period time (an entire season or career) but don’t tell much of a story for one game. This brings me to why I believe Barkley was in fact impressive.

    Matt Barkley is not Mark Sanchez, is not Matt Leinert, is not Jon David Booty, is not Vince Young. He was one game removed from high school football when he made the start against Ohio State. His second collegiate start is at The Shoe against a reloaded, nationally ranked Buckeye team that returns 8 starters from it’s National Championship-contending 2008 squad. And USC was favored. Is that enough pressure for any quarterback, let alone a first-time-in-history true freshman starter from USC? The numbers he put up in that game were nearly identical to his career numbers. He’s not and never has been a particularly efficient quarterback. What is impressive is his poise and his ability to do his job in the worst of circumstances. Remember that he injured his shoulder before driving USC those 86 yards for the game-winning score, bad enough that he may not even start this week. Jon, I know you don’t like pro football being dragged in here, but let me just give you one example of why those stats don’t tell me anything important… Tom Brady’s career QB rating is 93.0 and he’s never had a season with a rating over 118.

    I’m not saying Matt Barkley is already a great quarterback. I’m just saying he impressed me. And clearly he has impressed Pete Carrol, someone who knows a little bit about quarterbacks I suspect. All the accolades don’t mean much either, but I just think it is very, very likely that he will have a lot of success at USC and potentially beyond. Obviously there are obstacles, injury and such, but what it comes down to in college football is winning. Barkley has a great team to help him do that, and they will equally rely on him to make the right decisions and execute. Time will tell.

    Let me add also that I do think it was not Barkley that won the game for USC, so much as McKight’s play and the USC defense limiting Ohio State to 88 yards of total rushing. USC has long used the formula of making their opponent one-dimensional and then dismantling them with a balanced offense. This game was no dismantling, but the formula worked. Which is more than I can say for Tressel’s formula of field position and conservative offense. Obviously every coach takes some heat after a loss, and in Jim Tressel’s case, he’s really taking the heat for past sins. But in my opinion he is deserving of the criticism he’s getting this week after the loss (mostly in regards to the decision to kick a field goal from the 1 yard line and to punt at the USC 34 yard line) and his ad hominem responses to that criticism have done nothing but deflect blame from what are certainly some arguable play calls.

    Finally, I’m going to agree entirely that I am not yet sold on Pryor. There seems to be an expectation these days that to be a great collegiate quarterback, you have to have some signature wins. Pryor has underperformed when he’s had those opportunities. He is unquestionably a fantastic athlete, but that has yet to translate to impressive performance on the field. Honestly I’m not sure if he’s to blame… he may simply be a bad fit for that “pedestrian offense” Ohio State runs. But the door isn’t closed on him yet, and he will certainly have more opportunities to prove himself and put all the criticism to rest. I wish I thought the same were true for Tressel. The fact is he has had a lot of success at doing what he intends to do. Ohio State has dominated Big 10 play, gets amazing recruiting classes, always seems to win the field-position game, and makes very few mistakes. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the winning formula these days in college football. You don’t think of the likes of Pete Carrol, Les Miles, or Urban Meyer as “playing-it-safe” kinds of coaches, and I think their success speaks to how important measured risk-taking is in the national competition.

    I hope that’s the response you were looking for, Jon.


    September 16, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    • I agree about the stats. I like using them to reinforce an argument, but not really to prove it. They’re interesting, but you’re right that they’re biased, and I tend to agree with Will Muschamp – stats are for losers. The sample size is too small to use stats to say much of anything about Barkley. All you can really say is wait and see.

      Again, kind of the same thing I’m saying about Pryor. He’s young and still has a chance to prove himself. I just get sick of people praising guys before they’ve done anything to justify it, or assuming that just because they’re playing for a big program like USC, OSU or LSU that they must be good.

      Austin Swafford

      September 16, 2009 at 8:45 pm

  3. Sure was, thanks Issac. Wonder where TJ is.

    Jon Castano

    September 16, 2009 at 8:28 pm


      TJ ERVIN

      September 17, 2009 at 9:53 pm

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