LOS ANGELES — Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley, who has guided the program through two years of NCAA sanctions and put up big numbers, said Thursday that he will pass up an estimated $20 million in guaranteed NFL money and return for his senior season.
"Our USC football team has been through some tough times, and we have persevered, but the 2012 team has some serious unfinished business to attend to, and I intend to play a part of it," Barkley said. "So yes, I've firmly decided to forgo the NFL draft in 2012 and finish this exceptional and unique journey that I've had here at USC."
At 6 feet 2, 220 pounds and with a game that matured over three years, Barkley was projected as a high first-round pick. But he still had goals to accomplish after leading the Trojans to a 10-2 record and a No. 5 ranking.
Barkley let coach Lane Kiffin know about his decision by inviting him to his house and showing him a homemade ornament on the family Christmas tree. The ornament had a photo of Kiffin and Barkley hugging after Barkley's school-record sixth touchdown pass in Colorado.
Kiffin, befuddled that he would be summoned to trim a tree, said simply, "Cool ornament."
Barkley then told him to turn the ornament over, where it said, "One more year."
Terry Bowden to Akron
CLEVELAND — Terry Bowden was named coach of Akron, taking over a team that went 2-22 and won one conference game the past two seasons.
"I'm so excited to be a Zip," said Bowden, 55, the son of former FSU coach Bobby Bowden. "It's just a matter of time until we build a championship program."
Bowden coached Akron's quarterbacks in 1986 under Gerry Faust. He has coached Salem College (W. Va.), Samford, Auburn and, after a decades-long absence from the sideline, the past three seasons at Division II North Alabama. He's 140-62-2 in 18 seasons.
boise wins big: Doug Martin rushed for 151 yards and returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, and No. 8 Boise State beat Arizona State 56-24 in the Las Vegas Bowl. It was the first time the opening kickoff had been returned for a score in any bowl game since Ohio State's Ted Ginn did it in the 2007 BCS title game against Florida. The Wildcats (6-7) never threatened the Broncos (12-1). Boise State's Kellen Moore — the NCAA's winningest quarterback — passed for 266 yards and two touchdowns, plus two interceptions and a fumble as he capped his career with 50 wins.
Weis gets Quarterbacks: Quarterback Dayne Crist said he would join Kansas for his senior season after losing the starting job early this season at Notre Dame. BYU quarterback Jake Heaps is also transferring to the Jayhawks after losing his starting job. Crist will reunite with Charlie Weis, who recruited him to Notre Dame, and can play next season because he has already graduated. Heaps will sit out under NCAA transfer rules.
Nebraska: John Papuchis was promoted to defensive coordinator and Rick Kaczenski of Iowa was hired as defensive line coach. … Center Mike Caputo will play in the Capital One Bowl against South Carolina after pleading guilty to reckless driving and fined $100.
Ohio state: Zach Smith, grandson of ex-Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce, was named receivers coach. Smith, 27, is a Florida graduate who spent five years as a graduate assistant and quality control assistant for new Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer at UF.
Penn state: No charges will be filed in connection with Saturday's fight between receiver Curtis Drake and quarterback Matt McGloin, campus police said.
PITTSBURGH: Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, 46, was introduced as the new coach. It's unclear if Chryst will stay at Wisconsin through the Rose Bowl. He beat out Florida International coach Mario Cristobal and interim Ohio State coach Luke Fickell.
Texas A&M: Senior offensive lineman Joseph Villavisencio, 22, was killed in a car accident, the school said. Witness reports say Villavisencio swerved to avoid a buzzard and veered head-on into the path of an 18-wheeler near the town of Normangee, about 40 miles from College Station.
Virginia Tech: Kicker Cody Journell has been suspended indefinitely after being charged with breaking and entering.
Western Carolina: Mark Speir, an Appalachian State assistant, was named to his first head coaching job.