With another dominant win, this time blasting past over-matched Wake Forest, Notre Dame marched a little closer towards its first National title since 1988. With some dramatic news following USC’s capitulation to UCLA, that march became a full on charge. Word has come out that USC Quarterback Matt Barkley will not be able to face The Fighting Irish after injuring his shoulder against UCLA. The injury is being reported as a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder and is serious enough that Trojans coach Lane Kiffin has already ruled him out of the game against Notre Dame.

Kiffin has also confirmed that the immortal Max Wittek will take Barkley’s place. Wittek has never started a collegiate game.

What this means is that all that stands in the way of Notre Dame finishing the regular season unbeaten and advancing to the National title game is a downtrodden team fresh off a 28-38 beat-down and led by a QB who has completed 8-of-9 passes thus far in his entire college ‘career’. USC have been a relative flop this season (once holding the number one spot in the BCS standings), and basically have nothing to play for next weekend. Notre Dame on the other hand, will be taking the field knowing their destiny is in their hands. One more win and they go to the big dance.

Manti Te'o and his defensive colleagues must be frothing at the mouth, waiting to get their hands on Wittek.

It should be noted that while this is obviously incredibly good fortune for Notre Dame, Barkley deserved better. If you recall, he did not enter the NFL draft last season instead choosing to finish off his education and complete his senior year with his team mates in USC. The good news for Barkley is, he will still be drafted high up the board as he has all the skills needed at the next level. There are plenty of clowns out there who will stab at this and say ‘he should have left college’ (and entered the draft) but what they are missing is Barkley will finish his education and his final year at school will stand to him the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, next Saturday Notre Dame have a chance to make history and make their way to the BCS title game.

That path just got a little bit easier with this unfortunate news.

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