Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/17/14

If USC is going to pull an upset of No. 1 ranked Notre Dame this coming Saturday, they’re going to have to do it without injured Matt Barkley. USC announced on Sunday night that the senior quarterback will sit out this weekend’s game with a sprained shoulder. Barkley injured his shoulder in the fourth quarter of the Trojans 38-28 loss to UCLA, USC’s first loss to their cross-city rival since the 2006 season. Redshirt freshman Max Wittek will start in Barkley’s place Saturday. Wittek has thrown just nine passes this season, completing eight of them. It is a disappointing end to a season which started with so much promise for both Barkley and USC. Barkley returned to the school for his senior year after finishing 2011 with a Pac-12 record 39 touchdown passes, and his return was the biggest reason why the Trojans were ranked No. 1 in the preseason. However USC has been one of college football’s most disappointing teams in 2012 limping to a 7-4 record, and Barkley’s play in particular has been especially inconsistent. On the season, Barkley’s numbers are down across the board, with 15 interceptions and a 63 percent completion percentage marring a year where he’s added 36 more touchdowns to his career total. And for the Trojans themselves, Barkley’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. On Saturday they welcome their long-time rival, and the only undefeated team left in major college football, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Irish are ranked No. 1 for the first time since 1993 this week, and are looking for their first National Championship since 1988. A win against USC would ensure their spot in the title game. Ironically, it was last year’s 31-17 victory by the Trojans over the Irish which started their run toward their spot as this season’s No. 1 ranked team in the preseason. Following their victory in South Bend last October, USC finished the regular season with four wins in their last five games, and when Barkley returned to school this year it made the Trojans the proverbial favorite to win the 2013 BCS National Championship. However USC’s title hopes are now in the rearview mirror, and at this point all they can do is play spoiler for someone else’s championship run. And they’re going to have to do it without their senior quarterback.   Photo via @DuranSports For all his articles, opinions and analysis on college football, please follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Athletics trade Derek Norris to Padres

Dodgers not happy with Padres GM over Matt Kemp trade

Mario Balotelli banned match for offensive Instagram post

Marc Trestman: Benching Jay Cutler could revive QB's career

Rob Gronkowski jokes about Tom Brady saying he's grown up

Rajon Rondo traded to Mavs for three players, picks

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Washington Post has perfect description for Titans-Jaguars

Wilbon angry at DC for not supporting Wizards

Urban Meyer says Tim Tebow still wants to play in the NFL

Keenan Lewis: Saints preparing 'funeral' for Falcons

Chris Christie defends being a Cowboys fan

Celtics co-owner: 2024 Olympics would be 'boon for Beantown'

Extremely rare set of Air Jordan 7s selling for $45,000

Five reasons why Alabama will win College Football Playoff

Hugh Freeze proud of Ole Miss’ record 2.57 team GPA

Youngstown St. addresses Bo Pelini's profanity-laced rant

It's been almost 40 years since NFL's last untelevised game

The NHL has finally fined a player for diving

Ben Roethlisberger: Le’Veon Bell is having an MVP season

Jim Harbaugh comments on the reported offer from Michigan

Michael Jordan's college Converse shoes sell for $33,387

Week 16 NFL game watchability rankings

Game of the week: Indianapolis Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Chicago Bears are the Monstrosity of the Midway

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Impact of U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Andrew Hawkins, other athletes gain support for social statement attire

NBA's most underrated players

Michael Vick nearly debt-free

Dolphins CB rips Brady's career plans

Biggest winners of the MLB offseason

Brian Billick owns Browns fan

Pelini has profane words for Nebraska AD

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.