USC quarterback Matt Barkley decided to put the NFL on hold and return for his senior season for what he called “unfinished business.” In fact, the theme of the 2012 season for USC football is: “unfinished business.”
Feeling they had something to prove led the Trojans to 10 wins in 2011. They were arguably the hottest team in the country during the last half of the season and were ranked sixth in the nation in the final AP poll. But because of the bowl ban, they weren’t allowed to play past Nov. 26.
Hence, ”unfinished business.”
"I think a lot needs to get done every year, and for us maybe more than normal just because we have something to prove," Barkley said.
Does “unfinished business” entail USC returning to the top of the Pac-12 and finding the road back up the 110 to Pasadena and the Rose Bowl? Does it mean winning a BCS national championship? Perhaps, is it just a bowl game in a warm-weather state?
Whatever its meaning is, it underscores an important distinction this spring: USC is expecting big things come fall.
For a team coming off of two years of postseason bowl bans, many might say simply playing beyond the regular season would be considered a success.
With Barkley’s return, the Trojans figure to enter the 2012 season ranked in the top five, possibly even as high as No. 1. The team returns 19 starters, including two specialists after closing 2011 with four consecutive victories. Barkley figures to be a leading Heisman candidate. Even, Lane Kiffin is suddenly palatable these day.
In the final analysis, each person who follows the Trojans will have different criteria for what defines success for their team in the upcoming season.
What is certain is that those expectations will be huge for the cardinal and gold this year.