Monday, March 21, 2011

It Takes More than Luck to Win a Championship

ESPN's Ted Miller named Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck his  number one player in the PAC-10.  LaMichael James was number two, Darron Thomas, number four.

Luck is certainly a wonderful player, finishing second in last year's Heisman voting while throwing for 3338 yards and 32 touchdowns,  leading Stanford to their best finish in many years at 12-1.  Poised and intelligent,  he's a slam-dunk first round draft pick once he decides to declare for the NFL.

But when these players met on the field this last season, Oregon won 52-31.  LaMichael James ran for 257 yards and three touchdowns, and Darron Thomas passed for three and ran for another, 117 yards rushing, 238 in the air.

Andrew Luck got his pocket picked twice by Cliff Harris, once in the end zone.   On that night, Luck showed himself to be a very good player, but the Ducks were a better team.

This season, both schools return with their one-two tandem intact.   Stanford, however, loses Jim Harbaugh, who instilled a chippiness and attitude in the Cardinal squad that may be missing without him.  The Ducks have to travel to Palo Alto in the tenth game of the year, on November 12th, and it's likely to be a night game rematch watched closely around the country.

James and Thomas don't care about conference player rankings, or any other rankings.  But they'll be looking for another win over their Texas schoolboy rival.  Ted Miller's rankings may have to be revised after the 2011 season.

Cliff Harris will be patrolling again in the secondary, just in case.  He might attempt some revisions of his own.


  1. Agreed. Luck is a heck of a football player but it takes an entire team. I personally think that for a Stanford student (purportedly very smart...) he didn't make a smart decision regarding turning pro. With the rookie cap looming he passed on an estimated $50 million. Duh. Losing.

  2. GD58--

    You're absolutely right that purely from a pragmatic point of view, Luck, and Locker before him, or even LaMichael James for that matter, would have served their best financial interest by leaving early and taking the money as soon as they could.

    As a college football fan I'm glad they didn't, and I admire the values they demonstrated in remaining in school for another season. One of the weaknesses of NCAA basketball for me is that there are so many players who are one-and-done.

    Whenever he leaves Stanford, Luck will make a fabulous living as a professional. The rookie salary cap will definitely cost him a huge amount of money however.

    I'm reminded of a line from the original "Wall Street": "How many yachts can you ski behind, Gordon?"