STANFORD, Calif. Matt Barkley, after the visitor's locker room had cleared out, stepped into the night and stood in front of a table that had food splayed on it for the USC football players. Barkley took a burrito wrapped in foil, a sport drink and walked up the long flight of stairs to the team bus.
It was hard to imagine much of anything tasting good.
Barkley, who might have been a top five NFL draft pick last April, returned for his senior season for many reasons: playing in a major bowl game, winning the Heisman Trophy, and completing USC's road back from scandal to national championship contender.
He most assuredly did not return for this, a night when everything seemed to fall apart, both for Barkley and the second-ranked Trojans, who lost to Stanford, 21-14.
"Yeah, it hurts," said Barkley, trudging up the stairs, when asked if this was his toughest loss. "I don't know what it is. I can't pinpoint it. It doesn't feel good."
Barkley, usually loquacious and good natured, ...