How is this for a Trojan riddle: A true freshman is given the keys to one of college football’s most storied programs and manages to impressively win the first two games of his career – and he may not even play this weekend in Seattle.

Well, Saturday is still a few days a way, and Matt Barkley is probably sitting somewhere on the USC campus hoping the doctors and trainers tending to him are like weathermen, in that, placing a timeline on an injury is like predicting the weather – no matter how much thought goes into a forecast, you just never really know how true it will be until the day comes.

When Saturday comes, Barkley (and the rest of the Trojan nation) is hoping to take the field against Steve Sarkisian’s Huskies. Listed as day-to-day after apparently sustaining a bruised shoulder during the third quarter of the now-classic game against then-No. 8 Ohio State in Columbus last weekend, the forecast for Barkley in Seattle is complete with gloomy skies and a slight chance of rain, in which Pete Carroll and the rest of the Southern Cal fan base have busted out their umbrellas. By the way, those umbrellas bear striking resemblance to Aaron Corp.

Of course, everyone is hoping they do not have to open their collective umbrellas this weekend in Seattle – where the use of umbrellas and the forecast of rain is commonplace. What is also commonplace is how people’s opinions are like the weather: No matter what the forecast is, what actually happens in reality can change on a moment’s notice.

With Barkley, it was just two weeks ago he was named full-time starter and given a bleak forecast. Now, he is viewed as the next great Trojan quarterback, and Corp – who thought the starting job was his until recently – is now just a fill-in, holding the fort until Barkley is back to full health.

The real riddle is this: How did we get to this point so fast? In August, almost everyone who had an opinion on the matter was quick to question Carroll’s judgment in naming Barkley, the truest of freshman, as the 2009 starter for USC football.

And, who can question the critics, right? Never in the school’s history has a true freshman started the season at quarterback.

Funny how two good games can change the mindset of an entire nation of college football fans, eh? I have not seen any recent ESPN polls out on the subject, but I am willing to bet a solid majority of sports fans, if questioned today, would say Barkley is the real deal.

In the blink of an eye, Barkley goes from “what the heck is Pete Carroll doing starting a true freshman?” to “we knew he was going to be a superstar all along!” Marching your team to a game-winning score in what is considered by many one of the most memorable victories in USC history will have that effect.

Yet, they are the USC Trojans, not the USC Barkleys. The freshman has the support of one of the greatest coaches in college football and is surrounded by amazing talent on both sides of the ball.

Sure, Barkley will become a great player, as he so proved on that miraculous game-winning drive in the hostile confines of the Horseshoe – I do not know of any 19-year-old who can do what Barkley did in just his second career collegiate game.

Indeed, Barkley silenced his critics, albeit for now, in leading the Trojans to victory in Columbus, all after he sustained his shoulder injury. But let us wait a while before calling him the next great superstar to come out of USC. Winning your first two games does not ensure a championship, a high draft pick or Hall of Fame votes.