Barkley deserves standing ovation

LOS ANGELES -- We don't profess to actually know whether USC Trojans junior quarterback Matt Barkley is going to turn pro or return for one more season. But with the extraordinary leadership skills he showed during his season-ending performance, he has more than earned the right to follow his heart wherever that decision may take him.

None of the recent USC superstar quarterbacks -- not Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, John David Booty, or Mark Sanchez -- had to deal with the type of trauma that Reggie Bush and the NCAA left on the doorsteps of Heritage Hall for Barkley. Barkley's ability to keep not only his team, but also the program, from sinking into despair is nothing short of remarkable.

So which way is the former Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei superstar leaning?