USC: Tyrann Mathieu

On no longer being No. 1

September, 4, 2012
9/04/12
4:09
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Lane Kiffin doesn't vote in the USA Today Coaches' Poll anymore, which is probably a good thing for his sake, considering his Tuesday comments about the USC Trojans dropping in the polls.

Asked about the Alabama Crimson Tide leapfrogging USC in the Associated Press top 25, Kiffin made it sound like he'd do the same thing if he were still a voter.

"I would agree with that," he said. "I didn't watch any of the game because we can't, but from what I heard, they played a really good Michigan team in a big matchup and played really well."

Kiffin said last month that he "would not vote USC No. 1" in the coaches' poll, but it was later revealed that he in fact had. He later said the "would" was meant to indicate him taking on the perspective of somebody else, in that case Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez.

This time, Kiffin said he did not care about where his team was ranked and felt no pressure to try to run up the score against Syracuse on Saturday to bounce back after Alabama, who hosts Western Kentucky this week.

"We're just trying to make it to the next round," Kiffin said. "We made it to the second one, and we need to play well to make it to the third."

(Read full post)

Luck edges Barkley for a Heisman finalist slot

December, 5, 2011
12/05/11
7:20
PM PT
The reason Matt Barkley didn't get chosen as a Heisman Trophy finalist wasn't because of the NCAA sanctions against USC that kept the Trojans out of the Pac-12 Conference championship game and a subsequent bowl game this season.

The reason he's not going to New York, rather, is a lot more simple than that: It's all about Luck, as in Andrew Luck, the Stanford quarterback.

Luck, the Cardinal's junior quarterback, clearly took away a number of votes from Barkley. When you have two similar players in the same region and (1) Player A beat Player B in a head-to-head matchup and (2) Player A also started the year as the nation's most-hyped player, it's hard to expect voters to ditch Player A for Player B.

Player A is Luck. He didn't have a monster year and doesn't appear on track to win the Heisman after all -- Baylor's Robert Griffin III does -- but it's hard to say it's a gross unjustice that voters included him over Barkley on their lists.

Remember, voters include only their top three. Putting Barkley in the top three essentially required disregarding the country's most impressive statistical performance (Griffin), going against the favorite for most of the year (Luck) or ignoring all other positions than quarterback (Trent Richardson, Montee Ball and Tyrann Mathieu).

It'd be interesting to see how many fourth- and fifth-place votes Barkley received. But how much does that mean, really?

More important, many would say, is what Monday's news means to the chance of Barkley coming back for a senior season in 2012. To that, we say this: Very little.

Barkley has known all year he wasn't going to win. It's not as if being voted the fourth-best player was going to suddenly satisfy him so much so that he would then feel comfortable leaving school early.

His decision is not going to come for a while. But we will find out Saturday night just how many votes Barkley did get for the Heisman.

McDonald earns defensive back honor

October, 5, 2011
10/05/11
12:46
PM PT
USC safety T.J. McDonald was named the Jim Thorpe defensive back of the week Monday after a two-interception performance in the Trojans' 48-41 win over Arizona last week.

McDonald, a junior, picked off Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles twice in the first quarter and added a fourth-quarter onside kick recovery to lead the USC defense. He also added six tackles and a pass breakup to beat out other contenders for the award, such as LSU's Tyrann Mathieu and Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson.

The Thorpe award, in its 25th season, honors the nation's top defensive back each season, selecting from three finalists determined by a committee. LSU's Patrick Peterson won in 2010, following Tennessee's Eric Berry in 2009.

McDonald was one of 37 players named the award's preseason watch list released in July.

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C. Kessler361236296820
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J. Allen1357855.814
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