Why Matt Barkley Should Stay and Why We’ll Cheer If He Doesn’t.



I feel like this has been a long time coming.  In so many ways, we’ve both achieved just about everything we set out to do individually in the last year.  You had your finest season, one that will, no doubt, place you in the highest esteem for NFL teams looking for a great leader to take their team to the next level.  You are that guy.  You’re Tebow without the world wanting to punch you in the face (that’s also in a universe where Tebow throws a football like a boy).

I wanted us to win the South and to mess up the Pac 12 title because despite what Larry Scott says, he is the one who made the rule that we couldn’t play in a title game.  It wasn’t the NCAA.

I wanted you to win the Heisman and it looks like you’ll get to go to NYC.  You deserve to win it, but college football works in mysterious ways (in that it doesn’t work at all).

I wanted you to be exactly where you are right now with just a few minor improvements that you deserve so much.

Partly because of you and mostly because I am hell with a pen, I know I have earned an insane (and surprising) amount of influence over the student body.  As I mentioned, everything I write is pure, hot fire so I totally understand it.  The truth is, the moment you and I started exchanging Tweets was the moment Arrogant Nation really took off to freakish levels.

When I had cancer last year, you tweeted that I was a true Trojan and a warrior.  I had previously not disclosed this information because I am a warrior.  I didn’t want pity.  I eventually decided to share my story because I thought it could help people.

Since starting the blog, I’ve gotten to be keynote speaker at a half dozen USC events, lead the survivor lap at the USC Relay for Life to support cancer research and I even hosted the Fall Sports Rally on the court at Galen.

I ran into you at the event, not our first time meeting and without a reminder, you just said “Hey Zack, how’s it going?” and we proceeded to go out and fire up the crowd.

You are a real dude, a good dude and before I get into why I think you should stay, I wanted to make sure you (and all my readers) know that whatever you do, it doesn’t change what you’ve done and how much of our respect you deserve.

To state things plainly, you did not abandon USC when everyone else wanted to.  You were the face of a coach-less, sanctioned program and you were not even of legal age to buy a drink at the 9-0.  The entire world tried to bury us, but you led the team and we finish the regular season a top five team in the AP, which is the only poll I can take seriously at this point.

Succinctly, you’ve done great things here, we are so much better for having had you as the face of the team for three years and as much as I think you should stick around and finish this thing, I’ll root for whatever team drafts you (as long as it’s not the SF 49ers because I just can’t root for Harbaugh, but let’s be honest, it won’t be them).

So to be painfully clear, Arrogant Nation.  This is my final and only explanation to Matt as to why he should stay.  I’ve gotten hundreds of emails with statistics and emotional reasoning as to why I need to somehow force Matt to stay.  This is my official stance and I hope you arrogant bastards respect it.  I consider Matt a friend and will enjoy congratulating him via text after NFL games just as I enjoy it after USC games.  He’s a great person and whatever he does will be a part of his dream, and who are we to judge that?

I know Matt well enough (and admittedly it’s not that well) to know it’s not about statistics for him.  So this won’t be about that.  It’s about something better.

Matt, here are my bullet points.  No response required.  The bearfighter will now speak.


I just made clear that this would not be about statistics.  And it isn’t.  Factually, one more year in Troy will put you atop every significant leaderboard.  I know you don’t care about that above all things.  I think you know you are a special Trojan as it is.  The thing is, Matt…  WE want you on top of that list.

When I look at the dark clouds that surrounded the program (dark clouds I caught from my biplane and used to make water fresh enough to waterback my scotch), when I look at the way the media ignored us, when I look at the way the NCAA and Pac 12 had turned their back on us, you ignored all of it.  You ignored it and our penalty for some BS sanctions was an 8-5 season and a 3rd place finish.

You ignored it this year and we’re ending in the top five, ruined the Pac 12 title game’s attempt at legitimacy (and anyone legitimately giving a shit about it) and basically flipped the entire media on its ass.

You never gave up on your school.  That is the man we want atop our leaderboards.  That’s the name we want all future QBs to be compared to.  It’s selfish, but in a weird way, WE want your legacy to sit atop all others.  We want to compare all future quarterbacks to you, instead of you being compared to Palmer and Leinart and Sanchez and Booty.

You are all the things a Trojan is meant to be.  We want you to end it the clear number one so I get applauded (not arrested) when Arrogant Nation puts up a statue of you on the way into the peristyle.  When my kid tells me his USC QB is the best ever I want to call him an asshole and make him watch highlights from your 2012 season and then make his girlfriend break up with him.

George Lucas.  Neil Armstrong.  Matt Barkley.  (Zack Jerome?)

Which leads me to my next point…


There’s only one way to do that and that is to win a Heisman.  I am proud of everyone’s efforts (even Mr. Haden who took 10 weeks to figure out what I’d been saying since August) to get you in the national spotlight.  The thing is, if they can stick Alabama and LSU in a title game, they can give Trent Richardson a Heisman.  I hope when you are at the ceremony, it fires you up.  I hope you realize that one is yours for the taking.

Next year, you’d sit behind a big O Line handing the ball off to Curtis and tossing bombs to Marqise and Robert.  You will experience 4th quarters like I do, as a spectator.  You will lead the Heisman race wire to wire.

At the end of it, we’ll have #7 forever in the Coliseum.  You are the anti-Reggie Bush.  So fitting you should replace his jersey under the Olympic torch.

Again, it’s about how badly we want you to be the first name people think of when they think of this school.  Like Coach Kiffin said, you should get more credit for staying the course and not abandoning USC.  We want you to reap every benefit from that decision.  You’ve done the hard part.  We just want to see you take your seat at the head table with no questions asked.


Not that we’re a package deal or anything, but you have no idea how arrogant I can be when we’re a preseason #1.  It will be gross.  Kyle Negrete’s mustache will become flame-resistant and grow at twice the rate of normal human facial hair.  Kiffin’s visors will be too hot to handle without thermal gloves.  The world will rotate backwards.

The Ducks will be coming to USC.

Basically, this is the personal favor part.  I’m your third wide receiver and I need some tight spirals to have my 1500 yard season.  You are the man for the job.


When you go pro, you go pro.  It’s over.  The college chapter closes.  I can hear it in your voice.  You know we could have taken LSU this year.  Maybe not the first game of the year, but we built this team week after week.  This team is so reminiscent of 2002 that I have no doubt what next year will bring.

At the end of  a trail of dead Sun Devils, Ducks, Trees, Oranges and of course Bears will be the one thing that’s eluded you so far at SC:  an SEC team that thinks they can’t lose.

I cannot explain to you the satisfaction I felt both times we punked Auburn or both times we murdered Arkansas.  It is so rare a Pac 12 team gets a chance to put an SEC school in its place.  That’s partly due to the fact we’re the only Pac 12 team that ever beats SEC teams.  Truth is, they don’t schedule us and the only way to beat them is to make it to whatever title game the BCS is pretending exists, meet up with the mandatory SEC team selected and kick them squarely in the ass.

Next season, Miami, I am in the crowd with a bunch of good looking people drinking rum runners and watching SEC fans file out of the stadium.  They will say it isn’t possible.  They will deny it when it happens.  But the bearfighter never forgets and trust me, that will be more fun in January than having Terry Bradshaw wonder if you were ready (you will be) for the NFL.


College is your true love.  I love my job.  I actually do.  I get to plan social media initiatives for video games.  It’s the best.  That said, college will always be the most hilarious, amazing time of your life.

Same goes for football.  No one forgets what happens at USC.  Look, you can leave now and that will make sense.  If you leave next year, you have a way out.  College eligibility ends.  There can be the final chapter and that is that.

Look at Peyton Manning (who stayed for his senior season).  The guy is arguably the greatest QB of his generation, an MVP and a Super Bowl winner.  He has nothing left to prove at the pro level.  He gets hurt and his entire fan base is calling for Andrew Luck, a fucking caveman, to be drafted to replace him.

The NFL is a job and it’s not personal.  USC is personal.  You will always be a Trojan.  Few NFL players end up being one thing.  In college, you are a Trojan.  In the NFL you might be a Steeler, a Charger, a Bengal and a Texan.

If you came back to SC and it didn’t end in perfection, that would be fine.  You’d have ridden it all the way out and there’s nothing any of us could say.  You’d have seen it through from day one to day final and all that you’d get at the end was a standing ovation and a place in history.

The NFL is going to be a blast, but it’s a job.  Rarely can I give you direct advice.  Even if you love your job, which I do, it’s work.  No one is ever going to love you more than this USC fan base will.  No team will every love you more than these teammates.  You may be loved your whole career, but this is pretty much what you dreamt of when you were a kid.

You are the quarterback for USC, your team is on top, you are the favorite for the Heisman and everyone just wants to see you play more.

Arrogant, buddy.


I don’t need to further explain this one, do I?  Through some magical wormhole, Stanford has gotten the best of us during your tenure.  It’s time to end that.

You did that with Oregon and Washington.  You put things right.  It’s time to shut the farm up, let Cal thank us, then kill them like the Bears they are.


When you go pro, why on Earth do you want to go in a year the draft day talk will be about this guy?

You are a Trojan and you had a better year than this troll.  Marinate on it, watch him flounder and be the number one pick next year.  RGIII my ass.


The main reason for you to go to the NFL, in my mind, is that it would be hard to beat UCLA any harder than you guys did this year.  That said, they will bring in some new coach who will vow to beat USC, and you will put him on his ass and probably mess with Westwood’s head for the next five years when they question him about how he rolled over against SC in year one.

You are a Trojan.  You have never lost to a bear.  Six bears, six kills.  Let’s make it an 8 pack.


Life is strange.  Hell, I’ve had cancer twice.  I guess what I am saying is that you rarely know what’s coming next.  As you’ve said in your interviews, you have the chance to play for one of the great teams of the decade.  It will be good without you, it is so great.  With you?  Historical.  Everyone knows it.

Your owner in the NFL might get divorced (Dodgers) or might be cheap (Cardinals) or might buy multiple teams and not care.  You might have ten head coaches.  All of that will be fine and you will handle it with the same grace you’ve handled your college years, but the fact remains, the future is uncertain.

What is certain though is if you come back, you’ll have a great team, a great schedule and great fans.  It’s the last time for certain you can say that (although I know I hope you end up on a great NFL team and win lots of titles, obviously).

No matter what, come your first snap next year, I can promise you Marqise Lee will be five steps ahead of his defender while Robert Woods is being triple teamed.  It’ll be a year of fist pumps and arrogant game recaps.


I know this is a sentimental argument and I have no idea if you are wired the same way that I am.  I know the NFL is a dream and going there is special in and of itself.

The thing is, I lived through the Leinart decision and I can promise you no one cared like they care about you.  No one cared about Sanchez like they care about you.  We all know you’ve stood by us.  We want to see you atop the mountain alone with your teammates.  You’ve done so much already, but it just seems like there is some more left to do.

Now that we’ve retired the You Can’t Sanction The Endzone t-shirt (thanks for quoting it at Conquest, brother), I start to think about my own legacy.  I start to think about how I wonder if I’ll ever have the chance to make the USC Hall of Fame for writers for my service during sanctions.  I wonder if I’ll ever get to flip a coin at half time or be formally recognized by the school.

Maybe the fact that I write things they cannot say will forever keep me on the outside looking in, but here to do my job.  Like Batman only less dangerous and loved by way more girls.  It’s not to say the school doesn’t look out for me, the really do, I just wonder if all the time I’ve spent doing this blog for free will ever yield an opportunity to cement myself in the school’s history.

The bearfighter is doing fine.  Frankly, he wants to teach at Annenberg one day (whenever they ask).  The point I am making is that you are lucky in that you have a chance to retire your jersey at USC.  You have a chance to write it in stone.

That is so rare in life.  Such big opportunities on both sides of the balance beam.


I’m not begging you to stay.  Truthfully, I’ve seen Palmer leave and Leinart arrive.  I’ve seen USC replace too many great players in these ten or so years to feel the need to beg anyone to do anything, certainly not a guy who injected life back into the team and assured we’ll continue to prosper when that possibility was called into question.

I’m just saying we’ve ridden the wave this far.  You will be favored to win everything.  You will get to face an SEC team.  You will have a chance to literally prove that sanctions meant nothing.  You can rewrite the history books where people try to explain what the NCAA’s harshest penalties in decades even accomplished.

You spit in Larry Scott’s face.  You made Pat Haden stand up for USC and print t-shirts that slapped Larry in the face.  You have changed a culture.  You’ve made my job easy (well, easy for a genius bearfighter who is hell with a pen).

I just would love to see what next year looked like with #7 coming out of the tunnel.

That said, buddy.  If you go, we have your back.  In fact, if you go pro, I’ll post a letter from you to Arrogant Nation on this blog if you want and everyone will have your back.

This isn’t a case of stay or we’ll hate you.  This is a case of another guy who went to USC and has great options for his career.  Sanctions made you have to grow up real fast.  I’m saying, take the year off from the noise.  Spend time with your friends who probably needed all four years to graduate.

And then, come January, change college football forever.

It’s been a pleasure writing about you, it’s been great getting to know you and in the end, it’ll be great to see what you decide.  Just know, either way, Arrogant Nation is going to stand up and cheer for you.  We’re going to support you no matter what.

In the end, that might be the best reason to stay.

Cheers and Thanks,

The Bearfighter and Arrogant Nation


Filed under Rants and Musings

133 responses to “Why Matt Barkley Should Stay and Why We’ll Cheer If He Doesn’t.

    • Sue

      Either way, Matt has earned everyone’s respect. I vote for staying with a hefty (and well deserved) Lloyds of London contract. And thank you Zack for the great writing.


    • Bill Van Iden

      Well said. I would love to see MB stay and lead SC to the NC game. Matt, you are the leader of this team, the face of the program and led the charge when your teammates were bailing out right and left. Let’s take it to the NCAA and Larry Scott. Fight On.

  1. Nordeezy

    Eff it, I say all us alumni come back for another year as well.


  2. G. Koop

    Fight On Barkley. Lets do this!

  3. Jessie mahn


  4. Steven Browning Sample

    Ditto “perfect.”

  5. Jooho Kwon

    You sir are a Genius!!!!

  6. Shannon Carlson

    A perfect and elequent summation. It is exactly how I feel.

  7. Steve Marks

    Best. Post. Ever.

  8. Shannon Carlson

    One more time…ELOQUENT. I really DO know how to spell it!

  9. BamaTrojan

    To Barkley, Zack, the team, and everyone in Arrogant Nation who didn’t abandon the team, abandon hope, abandon pride, or abandon our will to win:

    Fight On.

    Thanks for the past couple of years. Regardless on what everyone decides to do, all Trojans will look back at these past couple of years and remember that even when the world was against us, Trojans never backed down. They wanted to forget us. They wanted to cast us aside. They wanted somebody else to talk about. We clawed our way back and ruptured through the earth with such arrogance, everyone realized you can never forget USC. They thought our fifteen minutes were up. It hasn’t even been thirty seconds.

  10. Ashton E.

    Zack, YOU’VE done so much for Trojans too, and I’m sure you know that but I still want to say that. This is my senior year, and reading your blog and watching Barkley on the field was something that I’ll never forget and likely look back on with great nostalgia. Thank you.

  11. This may be the best thing you have ever written.

    • Zack Jerome

      being that you graduated from the same prestigious usc film school writing program i did, this is a big compliment. thank you my old friend.

  12. One of my favorite posts 🙂

  13. TrojanDynasty

    Zack, very nice piece. Your writing has come along on this blog. The humor was always there, but now you have layers and layers of depth. Matt, the NFL is not going anywhere. It will still be the same No Fun League in 2012 or 2013. You’ll get paid soon enough but no amount of money can buy the good will an extra year at USC would get you. NFL fans will never be as loyal as Trojans. Hell, I don’t even have a team – I just pull for Trojans in the NFL. NFL teams pick up and leave their fans in the middle of the night. I always know where Trojan football will be played – my home LA. So take some advice for an old man of 39 – delay the gratification of a paycheck a year. Money is fleeting, fame is immortal.

  14. Radhika

    goosebumps reading. and I couldn’t have said it better

  15. Graham

    “Still owe Stanford an ass-kicking” you’re god damn right! As a sophomore I’ve had to endure two nail-bitingly close losses to Stanford as well of the knowledge that my grandfather spins in his grave every time it happens. Stick around and remind them who is boss Matt!

  16. Fight On Forever

    Matt Barkley is cut from a different cloth. He doesn’t care about statistics or money, he cares about doing the honorable thing, he proved this when he stayed at SC. It is his character, loyalty and principles that revived our team and will bring us out from the shadow of Reggie Bush.

    I will stand up and cheer for Matt Barkley no matter what he decides, but he deserves a Heisman, he deserves a National Championship, and he deserves #7 under the torch. I hope he gets all three.


    FTFO! Tears of joy over here.

  18. BeauS

    Matt, you just got snubbed from the Heisman ceremony….one more injustice you can use to fuel your fire for next season. I know you are Christian, and things like that shouldn’t piss you off….but I think even Jesus grants you revenge on the NCAA.

  19. Jeremy

    Zack, if you don’t mind, I would like to add an addendum to your post:


    As you no doubt just saw this afternoon, the Heisman Trust denied you a spot as one of the finalists for the Heisman trophy. In your place was Tyrann Mathieu, a player that failed a drug test earlier this season.

    Since Reggie Bush was stripped of his Heisman, the holier-than-thou among the college football world finger-wagged at USC about how Bush failed to preserve what the Heisman was all about: “The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.”

    If the questionable decision of giving Cam Newton the award didn’t prove that this statement was a load of bull, this move did. The Newton case is debatable, but Mathieu is a known offender. He failed a drug test and was suspended, and yet he gets the nod over you, a member of the AFCA Good Works Team.

    Why? Because he’s TEH HONEH BADGUR!!!!

    I’m not one to flaunt his good deeds, and I know you aren’t either, but since USC has been labeled as an amoral school, it’s time to call out the college football world on their hypocrisy.

    Come back. Be the Heisman favorite. Force the entire world to recognize you and only you, both in college football and draft talks. If you come back next season, it won’t be Luck and Barkley, or Ball and Barkley, or Mathieu and Barkley. Just Barkley. And unlike the BADGUR, you will deserve it.

    And since apparently you need a nickname to help with visibility, I will give you a head start:

    I declare you…Matt Barkley, the Sanction Slayer.

  20. Josh

    This is poetry.

  21. Trojan Student

    So true about this not being a stay-or-we’ll-hate-you situation.

    I hope he stays, but if he goes, good for him.

    Great letter.

  22. Matt’s proven himself through adversity, he deserves to take his victory lap and the opportunity to become “Mr. Trojan” so to speak, in a unique and unprecedented way. He deserves it just as much as this fanbase deserves someone like him.

  23. Stretch McGuffin

    Well put Bearfighter.

    I am sorely upset that I only just joined the Arrogant Ranks late this season. Thank you for giving me belly cramps every week from you hilarious posts and overabundance of bear meat. Thank you for saying the shit that we’ve all been thinking (better than we could have said it). Thank you for publicly telling that useless panty waste Larry Scott where to shove his “support” for his biggest moneymaker. And thank you for elloquently expressing the Arrogant Nation’s feelings for Matt. Selfishly I would love to see him and you return for a year of unprecedented arrogance, but I get why he’d want to leave and will root for him at the next level the way we do for all our Cardinal and Gold Warriors.


  24. Tommy

    Matt Barkley… Overrated.

  25. Alex

    As KC and the Sunshine band said it ” please don’t go”. I can’t believe Matt wasn’t invited to New York for the Heisman Award presentation. On the other hand…I can. They hate Us! Matt, there is no choice. Come back and get what will be yours(a National Championship and the Heisman Award)…you deserve it!

  26. Kaleb

    Fight on! Beautifully said.

  27. thekatman

    Barks…. we back you up and will root for you in the NFTl, but if you decide to come back for one more year…. the Coliseum will be rockin’ every home game, the away games will have more , me included, and you can be assured of a place in USC football history that will have yoiur name, image and support etched in stoen for 100+ years to come…… you, Mr. Barkley will be more instrumental to the survivorship of Tan anyone in history, including John McKay, Pat Haden, Coach Robinson, the Heisman winners, et al….. for you will be the one guy that took this team from the ashes of NCAA sanction ruble, and like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, played through the dark clouds of sanctions and despair and lead this team, by example, iknto greatness once again. You have played for Trojan pride and now you have a chance to make you mark in such a huge way, that NFL money cannot compete against a man’s legacy. Your legacy is in your hands, my friend, and your name will always be a great name to speak of at The Program. Good luck, godspeed and as always, Fight On brother. BEAT EVERYBODY!

  28. Neil Varghese

    FIGHT ON!!! In MB we Trust….

  29. thekatman

    My apologies for the typos……

  30. Fatima Szo

    @Zack : You are simply a magical wordsmith! Well done, sir.

    As both an alumna of MDHS (Mater Dei HS) and USC (what Leinart, Barkley, and I have in common along with Grootegoed, Holmes, and hopefully Wittek in the future seasons), I’ve witnessed the boys grow into men. Honorable men. I’ve watched them play in high school and watched them transition and succeed on the collegiate level.

    During Leinart’s hey day, he was something special, but not too many people knew of him or about him until his first game. And at one point after his first loss as a starter to Cal and his injury at ASU, it looked like the kid was about to give up until Uncle Pete got in his face at half time at that ASU Game, and he led the team to a phenomenal 2nd Half come back. People never called for Matt Cassel to start again.

    BUT as you said, Barkley is different. He is special on a whole other level. Uncle Pete knew it and let us know that. There was and never has been a sign of “giving up” in his being regardless of the circumstances. You need only look back at the USC v Ohio St. Game at the ‘Shoe and how he (along with Joe McKnight) helped lead the team to what was thought to be an improbable comeback. He showed leadership back then as freshman even when there were doubters who believed that Aaron Corp should have been leading the team. Barkley has presence, respect, and reminds us with his boyish smile how much we love this game of football and how much it’s good to be USC Trojans. He plays with a zest & joie de vivre that harkens you back to when you were a kid playing any sport and you were just excited to get in the game and make a play. That joy is contagious, and the team and all Trojans alike feel that. He makes you believe. He makes you root for his success in everything he does. Men like him (much less athletes like him) don’t come along very often. So, yes, this won’t be a decision based on numbers or dollar signs (regardless of his statement about being able to take care of his family — which is very honorable). This will be about Barkley and whether he feels complete in what he has done as a Trojan for USC or whether he feels he has more to do not only as part of a team but as part of the USC Legacy of Football.

    Honor. Glory. Love. That is the MDHS students learn & attempt to live. Barkley has been the epitome throughout his football career: He’s been an Honorable Trojan — staying the course when others turned their backs — He’s helped in bringing us back to Glory — He’s won the USC brethren over and we LOVE him for it. Whatever decision Matt Barkley makes will be supported by all Trojans — I’m sure we’ll all be rooting for his success either way.

    Without distractions from the Trojans, the NFL, the countless awards, it’s Barkley who must decide with clear eyes and full heart… He can’t lose.


    (@Zack… so when are we – myself & other USC Band Alumni – going to get to take you out for drinks?)

  31. USCTrojan87

    Lil’ Sasquatch will be wondering why he’s in NYC when we wasn’t even the best QB in his conference. If Barkley does come back, let’s really make his year special. Fill the Coli every home game. Stay to the end of the game. For all Trojans, like me, who aren’t on the West coast, fly out for a game.

  32. Jonathan Gonshor

    you make me proud to be a Trojan

  33. YoshiSC

    The Friday Night Lights music in the background was a nice touch. Well done Mr. Bearfighter Sir…
    Now let’s have #onemoreyear trend worldwide again

  34. USC2000

    No, really, I’m not crying…I just have bad allergies today.

    Zack, this summarizes everything about the heart of this team. Your blog became that bright spot for us diehards…you deserve as much of the credit for this as does MB7. Thank YOU for everything you do to make “Fight On” really mean something!

  35. Jim

    Zach, I’ve always enjoyed your writing, This Sir, is brilliant work. Well Done

  36. LJP

    MB7 is a great Trojan and I can only dream of a future where my son and I sit in the Coli and my son points to a large cardinal and gold jersey with a 7 on it under the Peristyle torch and asks, “who was 7?” I will perk up and smile as the memories rush through my mind’s eye before saying, “that is Matt Barkley’s jersey and if you want to have a hero, he would be a great one to emulate. He was the best there ever was.” Fight on!

  37. Trojan

    only complaint is the strike through John David Booty, a great Trojan and two time all Pac-10 first team QB, two time Rose Bowl winning QB, Rose Bowl MVP, and a great guy who won a hell of a lot more games than he lost. not his fault that Yogi Roth was on staff and told him to put some tape on his broken hand and go back into the game against Stanford despite him clearly saying “I can’t feel my hand”. He did twice as much as Sanchez did without any of the baggage.

    • Zack Jerome

      Booty looked relieved to me when he lost at OSU. I think in a time of exceptional QBs, he suffered from being good.

    • Win4Ever

      Thanks for another great year Matt and Zack. I must say I’m excited for whenever Matt decides to go to the NFL. He will be the guy they interview after every game that still proudly says, “Fight On.”

    • Tim

      Agreed. Only two QBs is USC history have won two Rose Bowls and JDB was one of them. He also went 20-3 as a starter and was 9-0 against top 25 teams. He’s gotta be considered one of SC’s all time greats. Remove the strike! JDB deserves more!

      • Zack Jerome

        the second best part of this post is i found the two diehard JDB fans on the planet. JDB was good, but I am an intangibles guy and there’s a reason he’s not starting in the NFL and Leinart’s backup is.

      • thekatman

        I agree about the status of Booty. He was a great QB at SC. What happened to his NFL career?

      • Zack Jerome

        he held a mean clipboard in minnesota for a moment…

  38. hahahahahaha he didn’t even get invited to NYC hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  39. Gen Nakamura

    Goosebumps, warm fuzzies (the manly kind).
    Nostalgia index off the charts.

  40. scotty

    Dear Zack.. I’ve never seen you like this? I have to tell you? I’m admitly the the ripe old age of 40 plus.. Been watchin SC games since I was a kid… We’ll be just fine… It’s like a someone once told me ” You don’t lose a girlfriend you just lose your turn>>” …… Which is why a Trojan says- FIGHT ON!!!!!!!! you rock…

  41. scotty

    oh shit! and – there always HOT!!

  42. Jim

    Wonderfully poignant and well written.

    Whether Matt stays or leaves, his body of work speaks for itself, he fought the NCAA’s draconian system , valiantly so. He’s done a man’s job and will be at peace no matter what decision he makes.. No, I take that back, he’s done the work of a dozen men. It’s bordering on heroics at this point, just touching upon the stuff of epic heroics; we’re talking about Herculean 12 labors/Arthurian Quest/Viking Saga type territory.

    However, I’m torn about whether Matt should stay. It has nothing to do with wanting to see Matt kick the crap out of more bears, dogs, cats, Irish barbarians, and SEC confederates and win a NC and Heisman. I have no doubt that SC can and will if they stay focused on those goals. The real issue is whether college football deserves to have someone like Matt give them a shred of credibility by participating in the disgraceful and criminal spectacle known as college football. From Paul Dee to Jerry Sandusky, from tOSu’s tat-gate, to Urban Meyer, there is a level of sleaziness that currently afflicts CFB that would make Silvio Berlusconi blush. If Matt returned and the season played out the way we all hope, I fear all he and his valiant brothers would do is distract from what a cesspool the NCAA, BCS, ESPN, and CFB have become and allow CFB to continue instead of receiving the death it so richly deserves and is neccessary for real change.

    On the other hand, if Matt returned he could show that as long as one man, one team, refuses to give in, refuses to broken, refuses to bow down to the ugly, petty men and women of the NCAA, BCS, ESPN, and CFB, then perhaps…well, as I stated earlier, it’s touching upon the stuff of the great heroes.

  43. Austin

    I think I’ll go cry now.

  44. Brian

    Matt. What a blessing you have been to our school. Stay or leave, you have been been a leader and an inspiration to the entire trojan nation. Wherever you may be next year, my voice will be among the many who cheer you on to victory.

  45. Rich West

    Wow. Barks can’t read this and not come back!!

  46. When can we start the letter writing campaign to get you inducted in the USC Hall of fame for writers? You have single handedly done more for the moral of the University of Southern California than any of the writers or bloggers covering USC since Owen Bird first arrogantly dubbed us Trojans…

    Fight On!

    The TMB Alumni are working on helicoptering in your formal invitation.

  47. Nhi

    You are great. Matt is great. This is great.

  48. rob

    I remember when Pete left USC and the sanctions came rolling in. Mike garret was booted shortly after and players were told they could go play anywhere else and not need to sit out a year. It seemed like a death sentence.

    I turned on the news the night the sanctions were announced and watched MB gush about being a Trojan and what it meant to fight on. To be honest it was baffling how optimistic he was given the circumstances; but he meant every word. He is a class act and a true leader on this team.

    Great post

  49. GBlivins

    Someone please give him advice from an older man: When you’re 70 you won’t remember whether you entered the NFL when you were 21 or 22, but you will never forget your senior year in college.

  50. Chris M

    You did it again bear fighter. Truly awesomeness.

  51. carlos canedo

    MB7 as much as we would likefor u to stay and for us to continue to boast about your success, you have earned the right to do what is best for MB. Having said that as a fellow Trojan I would like for you to be a special Trojan. Unfortunately, as time goes special trojans are remembered by national championships, heismans, etc). You already are a special Trojan, we just don’t want time to leave doubt…leave no doubt! Fight On!

  52. Jim


    Thank you for putting into words my emotions and feelings about this wonderful young man. I have been watching Trojan football since the 40’s and have seen many young athletes grow into fine young men but Matt is a rare one and brings a smile to my face watching him play and a lump in my throat as I listen to his succinct words about things other than sports. For an old Trojan in his 70’s who loved his time at USC I think I can speak for most of us that whatever Matt decides it will be a good choice but OOOOHH for one more year so sweet!

    • Zack Jerome

      that was a great comment. thanks jim and thanks for building a legacy we are carrying on today. fight on forever.

      • Win4Ever


        After reading Jim’ comment and just truly watching #7 play the last three years, it is evident that you and Matt have inspired a Trojan nation surrounded by dark clouds. In the darkness, we never faltered. We never lost faith. We looked for the light at the end of the tunnel. You and Matt brought that light like the Coliseum’s fourth quarter torch. We’ve continued to fight on, and will do so forever. Thank you to the both of you for guiding us to victory.

  53. Brittany's Pulkrabek' Mom

    Matt Barkley should follow his heart and do what’s best for him. He is a great player & I am absolutely positive USC and his coach & team do not want to see him go. Matt will be a Senior and should go out with BIG BANG and take his team ALL THE WAY NEXT YEAR! My daughter Brittany & our entire family KNOW Matt & his USC Football Team CAN & WILL do this with HONOR. GO TROJANS!

  54. jpfoursc

    mind…. blown. this ode to barkley, simply magnificent.

    thank you zach for so elegantly distilling how arrogant nation feels about #7, you are truly a gifted writer. and whether matt’s jersey ever graces the peristyle, it will forever hang in the heart and mind of this trojan fan. thank you matt.



  55. Trojan Pride, all the way!

  56. SpareNoBear

    Zack, what’s your take on the Heisman invitations?

  57. 4evertrojan

    Zach, as others have said before, you speak to our thoughts and desires in wishing Matt a great future. Maybe President in 2020? Beyond that, you deserve a paid gig, so if anyone from the dailies are reading this, hire Zach! Do that and your subscriptions will go up for sure.

    • Zack Jerome

      i have a great job for my career. the blog i post no ads so i can say whatever i want. i don’t need to get paid to write, but i appreciate the sentiment. in my experience, when someone pays you, they limit what you can say. that’s why i work in social media and i don’t take money for blogging. speaking engagements, that’s another story. 🙂

  58. Anastasia

    I say its Tiger hunting season

  59. Central Coast Arrogance

    Great! Arrogantly, this was my favorite SC team ever! I’ve never been more proud of a team representing USC. For all the corrupt activities from the NCAA, Paul Dee, and Larry Scott – these guys took the best shot then kicked some azz! They arrogantly destroyed Larry’s precious baby. They arrogantly ranked #5 in spite of the false allegations that could never hold up legally! I hope Matt comes back, for selfish reasons …. But please bring TJ, Matt, and Nick back as well. Tell the NCAA you cannot sanction arrogance! But good luck to all regardless of their choices

  60. Joe Trojan

    The 5 characteristics of an ideal Trojan:


    Thank you for the wonderful years, Matt. Loyal through our darkest periods; with brighter days ahead, you owe it to yourself to fulfill the last chapter at your alma mater the right way.

    You join the few and proud ideal trojans that have graced the university since 1880. Go where your heart tells you to.

    Let’s finish the game.

  61. USCTraveler80

    Charles Woodson took money but it was found out tot late for him to have his Heisman Trophy and National Championship taken away.

    Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson got extra benefits but both did not get penalized, Ingram won the Heisman Trophy while Alabama won the National Championship and Richardson is a finalist who will play in the Championship game.

    Cam Newton violated rules, but was declared eligible. He won the Heisman Trophy and National Championship.

  62. USCTraveler80

    Mike Garrett was right:

    “As I read the decision by the NCAA, all I could get out of all of this was … I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy, and they wish they all were Trojans,”

    Mike Garrett said this when the sanctions were announced.

    • SoCalJD

      The only silver lining from the NCAA sanctions is that it cost Garrett his job. He should’ve been canned for the disgraceful way he handled JR’s ouster. Floyd was the fall guy for Garrett on the Mayo fiasco, if Floyd was truly guilty of what he’s been accused of – why didn’t he bolt for the UA job ? (Calipari is a master of this maneuver). Please don’t disgrace this space w/ #20’s name again.

  63. Walter Heinecke

    Zack: There is doing things right and doing the right thing. I have this burning feeling within me that Matt will do the right thing and return to USC to fulfill the great expectations. Fight on!

  64. Rick Lewis

    Matt Barkley is a man of faith, character and integrity — as the USC QB, God’s given you a platform to speak grace and truth like no other on the planet. Praying for peace for you and your family whatever the decision. Your Light will shine bright wherever you are in this world.

  65. Jimmeny Christmas…we are just USC Alumni Mom & Dad. We live and die up here in San Francisco rooting for USC. It’s lonely. We hang our flag out every August – December during Football season. Our neighbors say nothing to us if we win and they can’t wait to stick it to us when and if we lose. The triple OT loss to Stanford was especially tough.

    Matt, we hope you stay, but whatever you do…you still have fans who will root for you at the next level. FIGHT ON!

  66. JohnnyTooBad

    Coach Taylor could not have said it better.

  67. Matt showed us how the coliseum is SUPPOSED to be during games. I absolutely LOVED this season and would love for it to continue. No matter what happens, no one can forget SC football and this season taught them that. FIGHT ON!

  68. GouldDornsife


    I have been a loyal follower/reader/soldier/member (not quite sure what term is most appropriate, perhaps hunter?) of arrogant nation since the early days of last season. I have thoroughly enjoyed your writing and I have no doubt that you have helped this double trojan through the dark days and have helped all of us remember why we are proud to put on the Cardinal & Gold as we prepare for battle.

    I must say, this post could not be more accurate as it truly exemplifies my feelings about #7. However, what I believe might be even more telling about the feelings Trojans have for both their school and their quarterback are the comments people have left through out the season. I like to read your posts twice, once just as they come out because they are, well, hilarious, but then again about 2 or 3 days later in order to skim through the comments people leave. It is through these comments that I have slowly come to understand the power of arrogant nation.

    This is my first comment in the 2 years (has it really been that long?) I have been reading your material and I just wanted to say thank you. There is no doubt your vision of an arrogant nation has come true and is a strong and powerful force.

    Dornsife Class of 2010
    Gould Class of 2013

  69. Jp

    Thank you for being our voice bearfighter. I appreciate and applaud the efforts these two years. Truer words have never been written, MB deserves his place at the top. Your passion and pride set the tone and Troy responded.

    Matt- Thank you from the bottom of my cardinal and gold heart. Stay or go….you’re one of the greatest Trojans ever and when our “leaders” failed us you took the reigns and righted the wrongs. We’ll always support you, but lead the guys one more time…. into history.

    FTFO. 50-0.

  70. Trojan SCion

    Everyone should take some “Time Out” of their day to enjoy one of MB7’s greatest moments:

  71. Zack,

    Amazing post. I’ve never commented before but I want you to know our story.

    Here in Austin, TX life can get lonely for USC alums and fans. Everywhere you look UT fans crow about the Rose Bowl. Even after two years of Longhorn mediocrity, even after a top 5 finish by the Trojans, they just look at you with contempt, say “Vince Young,” and proceed to behave like total assholes. They crash our gamewatches. They call us “cheaters,” “spoiled children,” every name in the book. They STILL have shirts from 2005 on sale. We’re lucky if a bar will even show a game, let alone bump it when there’s any Texas/TCU/A&M/Baylor/OU games on TV.

    The USC Alumni Club of Austin reads your blog religiously. We wear the LFK store shirts. We clamor for the team to go for two after every touchdown. We worship the brilliant shining beacon that is the visor. But more than that, you’re the one who taught us how to hold our heads high, to revel in our arrogant nature. You’re the one who taught us to love being Trojans again, after cowering quietly, trying to avoid fights, trying to avoid more crow. Now we take it and fling it right back – not with empty insults and cheap bickering, but with rock-solid pride and that gleam in the eyes of every Trojan this year, the knowledge that this family is keeping calm and fighting on. And you helped build that. Barkley may have guided the team back to greatness, but you’re the one who inspired us to be Trojans again. You’re the one who showed us that every day is a great day to be a Trojan. Our greatness is existential, not situational.

    We have our own watching venue now, a massive private room with HD projectors and 2 dollar mimosa specials. We have a 300-strong alumni membership base. We’ve bumped other schools out of their gamewatch spaces by bringing 50-60 when they only planned for 20. We were last year’s USC Volunteer Organization of the Year. We’re helping form a unified Pac-12 social club. We’re building something special out here. And you’re part of the reason it’s working.

    As we’re all spreading the thanks around these days, I thought it important to say – the Arrogant Nation is truly nationwide. We’re the proof, and we’re not the only ones. Thanks. 🙂

    If you’re ever in Austin, TX on business or pleasure, drop us an email or a tweet. We’ll show you the most arrogant time you can have in the country’s most arrogant state.

    Marcelo Teson
    Vice President, USC Alumni Club of Austin
    Cinema/Television (production) 2003

  72. Pete Who

    Friggin’ awesome write up! FIGHT ON!

  73. When the explosions in the sky song ended half way through this post, I scrolled back up to start it again. Though the extra emotion wasn’t necessary. Great post Zack.

  74. HeliGeorge

    Brilliant, again! Not sure how you keep topping yourself. Since you went with a Friday Night Lights theme, I will skew my comments that way since everyone else has covered my sentiments.

    Seriously Mr. Bearfighter, they need to hire you to write the lines for Coach Taylor’s character in the upcoming FNL motion picture. You didn’t take a note from his notebook, he took a note from yours before you ever wrote it, now that’s arrogant…


    PS I am a pilot and have access to a helicopter, when you are chosen to once again host the fall sports rally 2012 we should land you on the roof of Galen in a grand spectacle worthy of The Bearfighter! Let’s give those baby bears across town something else to sit on to keep them warm at night…

  75. Great tributepiece to Matt Barkley, an inspiring young man with a bright future in college, NFL football and in life. Matt shined a Trojan tourch to light the way back into the light, depsite the dark clouds and NCAA’s unfairly distributed penaltys that overshadowed USC football for the past several years. Matt, you lifted a university and 90,000+ USC football fans back into the light, 10-2 and convincing wins over big time foes really showed your maturation as a leader and skill as the captain quaterback who broght job to Trojan Nation now and forever. Good Luck and come back Matt for one more glorious year and claim your spot atop the Trojan lore and leave a lasting legacy for others to try to replicate. Fight On!

  76. FABULOUS! Absolutely SENSATIONAL and on point at every turn! Fight On!

  77. A very well written piece. Your take on how his decision should be embraced by which ever he chooses, is a throw back in how we should appreciate what we have when we have it.

  78. Broken Tbone

    Matt Barkley suffers from being the pure embodiment of all that Trojans believe we stand for – putting the greater good of our brotherhood ahead of personal accomplishments. While I want MB7 to return to see the continued glory of Trojan Nation, I believe that much of our sentiment for him to return is for us to see the embodiment played through to its conclusion. The NFL draw is tempting, but a final year as a Trojan can never be recovered, and NFL WILL be there after 2012. Be a legend, Matt. It is the final note of a scale…resolution…and it’s the completion of the high standard of ethics and morale which you yourself have demonstrated, and is what is truly behind our desires to see you come back.

    Fight On!

  79. courtney rava

    wow, you have done it again… never have i read something that made me feel so sad/nostalgic one moment and then the next bursting of laughter! Like you said, no matter what Matt Barkley will be remembered for acting with the utmost courage during a dark time when even us Trojans were feeling down. I want to be able to say for the rest of my life that matt barkley is THE trojan. Next year can be a magical year that will have Larry Scott, the NCAA, & company cringe in disgust of our arrogance while the media jumps on our bandwagon again. He and the rest of the team this year epitomized the meaning of “fight on” which i believe in the end has made us even stronger .. Thank you Zack for rallying us together these past two years, its been real.

  80. dave307

    I cried a tear of happiness while reading this.

  81. Meesh

    Awesome post Zack. Great touch with Explosions in the Sky. You & Matt make Trojans proud. Fight on!

  82. Csetset


    Matt, if you’re reading this, Zack is right.

    You embody everything I would want in a Trojan QB. Not just the talent, but the humility, being a great leader, and being a great person.

    No doubt about it, after sanctions, USC was cast in a shadow. But you helped us out of that shadow. Even the worst of our haters say, “I hate USC” but when asked about you, they say, “Honestly, as much as I try to hate the guy, I can’t.” That’s who I want leading us, and that’s who I want people to mention when they talk about USC players. People like you, people like Pat Haden.

    I want you to win a Heisman and your #7 to be in the Coliseum to remind everybody of the great leader we had for future generations.

  83. frank blaha

    My kids went to SC. I could never have gotten in. But I felt more part of the Trojan Family 6 hours into the parent orientation there than I did during my 6 years at Minnesota. Blogs like this remind me why.

    • SoCalJD

      That is an interesting anecdote. I went to ‘SC in the early 80s. The academics have improved to the point that if I were a high school senior today, I wouldn’t have the grades/scores to be admitted today . . . Fight On !!!

  84. Pingback: Daily Trojan Thinks It’s Time For Me To Go. | Lost Angeles

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