If there was not enough hype heading into this weekend's Pac-12 South Division battle between the Arizona State Sun Devils and USC Trojans, there is now. According to USC's star quarterback Matt Barkley, Sun Devils linebacker Vontaze Burfict is a dirty player. A story from the LA Times has the quotes:
USC will have to deal with Burfict on Saturday night, when the 6-foot-3, 250-pound junior hopes to celebrate his 21st birthday by terrorizing the Trojans and quarterback Matt Barkley in a Pacific 12 Conference South Division game at Tempe, Ariz.
Barkley isn't much of a Burfict fan.
"He's a dirty player," the quarterback said, basing his opinion on what he suggests were efforts by the linebacker to injure him by diving at his knees during a high school game.
"His switch is always on. And it's not a good switch."
While there is something to be said about Burfict's playing style, surely Barkley knows it's a part of the game and something to deal with. The linebacker plays hard-nosed football and occasionally the big fella will perform a hit or two that may be construed as dirty or unnecessary by the opposing team. Whether or not that qualifies him as a 'dirty player' or not is up for you to decide, but we certainly all know the USC quarterback's feelings on the situation.
This now becomes a big storyline heading into this weekend's game. The chances for a few chippy plays were already high and now they are even more extreme. If there's a big hit early, expect some fireworks in Sun Devil Stadium.
For more on the Sun Devils, check out House of Sparky.