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CBSSports.com Senior College Football Columnist

Luck needs to focus on the Cardinal, not the NFL


Luck, so far, has done nothing to dissuade NFL teams he's not the hands-down No. 1 pick. (Getty Images)  
Luck, so far, has done nothing to dissuade NFL teams he's not the hands-down No. 1 pick. (Getty Images)  

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This dateline could be Seattle or Miami. The convergence of an NFL/college phenomenon just happens to be here, home of the Kansas City Chiefs.

They're bad. At 0-3, until a respectable showing Sunday against San Diego, they yelp out loud bad. The reasons don't really matter. It's how the Twitterverse has reacted to bad football in places like here, Seattle, Miami and San Francisco.

Twitter has put a social networkian face to the frustration. If you don't follow @SuckForLuck on Twitter you should for entertainment value alone. It has become a topic for sports-talk radio not only here but around the country.

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A 5-11 or 6-10 season does nothing positive for the chiefs.....punt the season go 1-15 and @suckforluck SLJones913 tweeted on Sunday.

The "suck" refers to the perceived race by some NFL teams to be as bad as can be, despite the season being only three weeks old. Desperation sets in easy when you're the Chiefs, having been outscored 109-27 in those three losses to open the season. It's not only Twitter that has decided that it is in some team's best interest, even this early, to snag the NFL's No. 1 draft choice.

The "Luck" is Andrew Luck, the Stanford quarterback who has done nothing to diminish his chances of being that No. 1 pick. The Cardinal's redshirt junior surprisingly came back for a fourth season after leading Stanford to a 12-win season and finishing as the Heisman runner-up.

With the college regular season one-quarter complete, Luck has not only solidified himself as the Heisman favorite but also become some kind of NFL Moses for 2012. Bright, young, highly-drafted quarterbacks fix downtrodden pro franchises. Luck could be some lucky team's fixer next season.

"I think the Chiefs want a quarterback bad," said Bob Fescoe, a morning sports-talk host here on KCSP 610-AM. "He's the one that they want."

That's where we come to a crossroads of that NFL/college argument. Is it really worth it for fans to hope their team tanks to get a player like Luck?

"I don't know if it's the vocal minority or vocal majority," Fescoe said. "But everywhere I go, [it's] 'We just tank and get Luck.' I'm not ready to tank. I think a lot of fans have their minds made up."

As a collegian, Luck is arguably the game's best player, a sturdy, rocket-armed specimen whose only historic peer at Stanford may be John Elway.

As a pro, he is "The Next Big Thing." And that bothers some people. His coach, for one.

"I think it's annoying, it's a distraction. Not to Andrew, it's a distraction to the NFL teams," said David Shaw who spent five seasons as an NFL assistant. "You're fighting and scraping in the NFL. The last thing you want to worry about is the college draft."

Shaw has lived in both worlds. As an assistant with the Raiders from 1998-2001, he experienced his share of quarterback issues.

"I've been in those situations before when you're have a rough year in the NFL, that's the last thing you want to think about," Shaw said. "You want to think about salvaging your season, making moves to make yourself a better team."

As a college coach, he doesn't want social networks distracting from a great player in the middle of a great season. Does Luck hear the NFL chatter? He certainly heard it when he decided to go against form and return for another season.

"I'm sure he does," Shaw said. "The best thing about it is, he lets it roll off his back.

"He hasn't changed. He is ultra competitive. He runs the huddle when he's in there.

Doesn't Luck deserve some sort of asylum from the racket barking at him from the future? He has lost his coach, Jim Harbaugh, and several key contributors from 2011. If anything Stanford has become better. Following a bye week, the Cardinal play UCLA on Saturday.

Before he becomes the centerpiece of some rebuilding NFL franchise, he already is the centerpiece of what is becoming an unlikely Stanford national championship run.

Elway never even played in a bowl game. Luck is 23-5 as a starter chasing a second consecutive BCS bowl. The Cardinal's future is laid out in front of it. It has one currently ranked team, Oregon, left on its schedule.

A Stanford championship would be the perfect antidote to an ethical sickness that has infected the sport. For a fleeting moment at least, it would show that the highest level of academics can mix with the highest level of athletics.

Duke has done it in basketball. Football, not so much.

In other words, can we just keep Luck to ourselves for a few more months?

We are a society living moment to moment. Twitter and its cyber-pals have given a voice to those who maybe shouldn't have one. Suck for Luck? A few months ago Kansas City's Matt Cassel was wrapping up a Pro Bowl season during which he threw 27 touchdowns along with only seven interceptions.

This season he and the team are struggling. Never mind that the offseason was mismanaged and injuries have hit hard.

This is what Andrew Luck would inherit here. Right now, that is what sucks.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.

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