Trojans ready for big run behind Barkley

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Matt Barkley's surprising return has made Southern California one of the front-runners to win the national championship.

The Trojans figured to be one of the nation's top teams this season, their first after a two-year postseason ban.

Barkley makes them a legitimate contender to win the final BCS championship before college football's playoff system kicks in.

Once a highly touted freshman who sometimes made questionable decisions, Barkley transformed into one of the country's best quarterbacks. Despite being projected as a high NFL draft pick, he opted to return for his senior season for a chance at a championship.

With Barkley calling the shots and talented players across the roster, the Trojans could make a run at it.