Matthews: New Bills QB Matt Barkley Gets Chance


The Buffalo Bills have signed former USC quarterback Matt Barkley. He’s 28 and once had a very bright future. Now he’s trying to hang on.

Barkley was a high school phenom at powerhouse Mater Dei in Santa Ana, California. He was starting QB as a freshman and the 2007 Gatorade National High Football Player and Male Athlete of the Year.

It was a huge deal at USC when he decided to attend USC.

After his junior season at USC, he finished sixth in Heisman Trophy balloting and was touted as the possible No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL college draft.

But Barkley delighted USC fans by opting to return for his senior season. USC was touted as the probable national championship team and he was the pre-season favorite to win the Heisman.

Unfortunately for Barkley, he struggled early in the 2012 season. The Trojans were 7-4 when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

Barkley’s NFL draft stock plunged and he was the 98th overall pick (by Philadelphia) in the 2013 draft.

He has played in a total of 11 NFL games, with Philadelphia (4) and Chicago (7). He’s 159-of-266 (.598) for 1,911 yards, with 8 TD passes, 18 interceptions and a 63.7 passer rating.

When AJ McCarron left Cincinnati via free agency after last season, the Bengals signed Barkley to a two-year deal to back up Andy Dalton. But Barkley suffered a knee injury during training camp, was placed on injured reserve September 1, and was released with an injury settlement two weeks later.

Barkley followed Matt Leinart at quarterback at Mater Dei High School and at USC. Barkley hopes to last longer with Buffalo than Leinart did. He started one pre-season game in 2013, performed poorly, was released and retired from football.


Baseball hasn’t had repeat World Series champions since the 1999-2000 New York Yankees.

OddsShark/BOVADA has jumped on the bandwagon of the new world champion Boston Red Sox and lists them with the Houston Astros as 7-to-1 co-favorites to win the 2019 Wort

The rest of the odds:

Dodgers/Yankees each 8-to-1

Cubs 10-to-1

Indians 12-to-1

Braves/Brewers each 14-to-1

Cardinals/Nationals each 18-to-1

Phillies 20-to-1

Mets 25-to-1

Rockies/Athletics each 35-to-1

Angels 40-to-1

Rays 50-to-1

Diamondbacks/Pirates/Mariners each 60-to-1

White Sox 65-to-1

Twins/Blue Jays each 75-to-1

Reds/Padres/Giants/Rangers each 125-to-1

Tigers/Royals/Marlins 250-to-1

Orioles 350-to-1.

Bob’s most tempting odds: Red Sox 7-to1...Yankees 8-to-1...Indians 12-to-1...Cardinals 18-to-1...Angels 40-to-1.

Bob’s least-tempting odds: Phillies 20-to-1...Mets 25-to-1...White Sox 65-to-1...Royals 250-to-1...Orioles 350-to-1 (3,500-to-1 would not be tempting).


There is speculation that Manny Machado cost himself many millions of dollars on this off-season’s free-agent market with his lack of production, lack of hustle and assorted on-field incidents with the Dodgers in the postseason.

A report claims the Yankees might not pick up Brett Gardner’s $12-million team option and use the money to help pay for free agent Bryce Harper to play left field. He’s always wanted to be a Yankee and he’d love the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium.

One reason the Minnesota brass signed Rocco Baldelli as manager is the hope that the Twins can be a contender in the AL Central if he can help former hot prospects Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano. Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Mitch Garver and Jorge Polanco all play to their potential.


The sports bettors took a record-setting beating at Nevada’s legal sports books in the month of September.

In numbers released Tuesday, the state’s sports books raked in $571 million in sports bets in September and made a $56.3 million profit. Both are records since the state began tracking sports betting in 1984.

The sports books have come out ahead of the bettors for 62 straight months. The last winning month for bettors was July 2013 (+$548,000).


The Syracuse U. Orange are in the Associated Press Top 25 polls in both football (22nd) and basketball (preseason 16th) for the first time since January 2002, when football was No. 14 in the final poll January 4 and basketball was No. 12  on January 8.

The SU football team is 6-2, already bowl eligible, and a 4 ½-point favorite at Wake Forest Saturday. The Orange will be big favorites at Louisville (2-6, 0-5 in the ACC) Friday, Nov. 9 (7 p.m., on ESPN) before the “Shamrock Series” showdown against Notre Dame, Saturday, Nov. 17 (2:30 p.m., on NBC) at Yankee Stadium.

In his three season at SU, coach Dino Babers has built an offense that can cause problems for any college defense (Alabama probably the exception). It remains to be seen if SU’s defense is capable of stopping Notre Dame’s offense often enough to score a major upset.


I’m a big fan of Tiger Woods and I think Phil Mickelson is OK, but I hope there is some good college football on TV the day after Thanksgiving to watch instead of the Tiger vs. Phil $9 million winner-take-all showdown at 3 p.m., ET. Turner Sports this week suggested a $19.99 pay-per-view price. I don’t care that much.

During the match, Woods and Mickelson will make side challenges against each other, with the winnings going to the charities chosen by the golfers.

As of now, no on-site tickets at Shadow Creek Golf Couse in Las Vegas will be sold. Pay-per-view will be the only way to view the live action.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook odds: Tiger Woods bet $180 to win $100...Phil Mickelson bet $100 to win $150.


The Buffalo Bills are 28th in the ESPN Week 9 NFL Power Rankings. Thank Buffalo’s re4latively stout defense for that.  The Bills are ranked ahead of the New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers and 32n-d-ranked Oakland Raiders.

Jeff Sluman update: The 61-year-old Rochester native ranks 43rd on this year’s PGA Champions Tour money list at $500,553. He ranks 40th in scoring (70.79). For his career, his official earning are $11,706,303 in the Champions Tour plus $18,165,266 on the PGA Tour.

The Minnesota Twins bought out the expiring contracts of 1b’DH Logan Morrison and pitcher Ervan Sananta and they’re now free agents. Gene Glynn was not retained as third base coach by new Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. If he needs a job, I’m sure most Rochester fans wouldn’t mind seeing him return as manager of the Red Wings. .


Wednesday, October 31

Tony Kemp 27...Cole Aldrich 30...Nick Foligno 31...Andy Parrino 33...Mike Napoli 37...Chris Kelsay 39...Ross Verba 45...Antonio Davis 50...Fred McGriff 55...Doc Rivers 57...Bill Fralic 56...Frank Shorter 61...Nick Saban 67. Willow Smith 18, Piper Perabo 42, Vanilla Ice, Peter Jackson, Jane Pauley 68 and Tom Paxton 81 are invited to the birthday party.

Thursday, November 1Masahiro Tanaka 30...Matt Moulson 35...Evan Mathis 37...Coco Crisp 39...Steve Hutchinson 41...Tie Domi 49...Fernando Valenzuela 58....Phil Myre 70...Joe Caldwell 77...Gary Player 83. Jenny McCarthy 45, Lyle Lovett 61 and Larry Flynt 76 are invited to the birthday party.


October 31

76 years ago (1943), Sammy Baugh of the Washington Redskins passed for six touchdowns in a 48-10 win over Brooklyn...50 years ago !968), the Milwaukee Bucks played their sixth NBA game and posted their first win, 138-118, over Detroit...31 years ago (1987), Chris Antley became the first American major-track thoroughbred jockey to win nine races in one day/night: four at Aqueduct and five at Meadowlands...30 years ago (1988), Indianapolis beat Denver 55-23 in the first NFL Monday Night Football game

November 1

106 years ago (1913), in their first college football meeting, Notre Dame upset Army 35-13...94 years ago (1924), the Boston Bruins became the first U.S.-based team to join the NHL...80 years ago (1938), Seabiscuit beat War Memorial by three lengths in one of the most famous thoroughbred horse races at Pimlico to win $15.000...68 years ago (1950),forward Chuck Cooper of the Boston Celtics became the first African-American to play in the NBA...59 years ago (1959), Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens became the first goalie to wear a fiberglass protective mask in an NHL game...Jim Brown ran for five TDs in a Cleveland Browns 38-31 victory over the Baltimore Colts...54 years ago (1964), Houston Oilers quarterback George Blanda was 37-of-68 in a 24-10 loss to the host Buffalo Bills...52 years ago (1966), the NFL awarded a franchise to the New Orleans Saints...Sandy Koufax became the first three-time Cy Young Award winner...48 years ago (1970), in their first NFL meeting, the New York Giants beat the New York Jets 22-10...11 7ears ago (2007), manager Joe Torre moved from the New York Yankees to the Los Angeles Dodgers (three years for $13 million)...8 years ago (2010), San Francisco beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 in Game 5 for the Giants’ first World Series since moving from New York City in 1958.

Bob Matthews' Column

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