Posted on: January 6, 2011 4:17 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Earlier today the news broke that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was going to return to Stanford next season instead of entering the NFL Draft. It was a surprise to most, seeing that Luck has been projected as the top pick in the draft, and it seems Jim Harbaugh is on his way out of Palo Alto to cash in on the NFL riches his quarterback is passing up.
In his post on the subject, the honorable Adam Jacobi said that it may not be the wrong decision for Luck to stay in school. He brought up some good points too, pointing out how college quarterbacks without a lot of starts under their belt have a history of struggling in the NFL. He even brought up the example of David Carr. Still, in spite of all that, I'm of the firm opinion that Luck is making a costly mistake to stay in Palo Alto.
There are a lot of things out of Luck's control with this decision that nobody can predict. Should he have gone on to the NFL, there's no guarantee he'd have succeeded. Staying in school, there's no guarantee that he'll get through another season or two healthy, or be rated as highly of an NFL prospect ever again.
Here's the one thing we do know about Luck: had he gone to the NFL, he'd have gotten paid. Not paid like you or I get paid, but "I can't choose between these yachts, so I think I'll buy both of them. Oh, and the Bentley too," paid.
We don't know what the future of the NFL holds. There may be a lockout next season, there may not be. What we do know is that as the top pick in the draft, and a quarterback at that, Luck would have landed a huge deal from the Carolina Panthers. Look at what Sam Bradford got from the St. Louis Rams with last season, signing a deal with $50 million guaranteed.
All indications are, whether there is an NFL lockout or not, one of the changes the NFL will be making is to put a cap on all rookie contracts. Which means that the difference between entering the 2011 draft and the 2012 draft could mean around $45 million for Luck. That's a lot of money to just give away.
Luck is a good quarterback. Will he be a great quarterback, I don't know. None of us do for sure. Still, I really don't think going back to school for another year will really help his chances. If Luck is destined to be an NFL great, he will put the work in to get better and become one. If it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be.
Whatever the case is, I'd rather be a failed NFL quarterback with $50 million in my bank account than one with $5 million. If Luck does become a great player, he'll end up being paid either way. It's just, in this decision, the risk is not worth the reward for Luck. Yes, that degree from Stanford will be nice, but football isn't a sport anybody can play until they're 70 years old. He'll have plenty of time to go back and finish his degree if it means that much to him.
But the opportunity to break the bank, and set yourself and your family up to live comfortably for a few generations doesn't come around very often. I fear Luck may have just blown his.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 2:56 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Sophomore Stanford quarterback and 2010 Heisman Trophy runner-up Andrew Luck announced today that he would be returning to school for the 2011 season.
"I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring quarter of 2012," said Luck in a statement released by the university today.
The news comes as a shock to those who assumed Luck would be the top pick in the NFL Draft; certainly, it appears the Carolina Panthers would have snatched the quarterback in a heartbeat. That pick will probably be used on Da'Quan Bowers instead, as the Clemson junior declared for the draft just yesterday .
Also, this move by Luck might actually make sense; one of the biggest determinants for NFL success by quarterbacks is the number of starts made in college, and Luck only has two seasons' worth under his belt thus far. He may look sensational on the college level, but so did two-year starter and No. 1 overall draft pick David Carr nine years ago.
Now, the only remaining question is whether head coach Jim Harbaugh will also eschew a large payday for another year by returning to Stanford for another year. That probably won't happen, as it's been reported that Harbaugh is "very unlikely" to return to Stanford and is reportedly receiving giant offers from NFL teams.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 4:43 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Following the 40-12 beatdown that Stanford put on Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl tonight, there were obviously some questions facing Stanford QB Andrew Luck and coach Jim Harbaugh about their futures with the program. Luck is widely projected to be the top pick in the NFL draft if he chooses to declare for the draft (always a risky decision for a sophomore quarterback), while Harbaugh has been rumored to be unlikely to return to Stanford.
Naturally, reporters were acutely aware of both of these facts, and asked both Luck and Harbaugh about their plans going forward. Both men were forthcoming and candid and everything in the first part of this sentence is a lie.
Harbaugh was clearly pleased with his quarterback's performance under pressure and followed Luck's lead shortly thereafter:
Now, obviously, refusing to comment on tough questions isn't exactly a new development, and while some players -- see: Jordan Todman -- are comfortable with declaring for the draft immediately after their bowl games, it's obviously acceptable if others want to wait before making any announcements. Further, if Harbaugh were really looking to upgrade from his perch at Stanford, it would be horribly tone-deaf of him to make any announcement to that effect immediately after the bowl game while his players are still celebrating.
Still, the lack of comment is, in and of itself, a comment; if it were really Luck's or Harbaugh's intention to return in 2011, what better stage exists on which to make the decision public?
Of course, that assumes either gentleman's mind is already made up, and that could very well not be the case. Supposed "done deals" fall through routinely, and that's not necessarily the fault of those involved or even those making the reports in the first place. We could well be in that position again, especially with Harbaugh (if Luck doesn't declare for the draft, he's insane). So, patience, Cardinal fans; there's more information to come in the days and weeks ahead.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 2:05 am
Edited on: January 4, 2011 8:35 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Stanford holds Virginia Tech to a scoreless second half in their 40-12 win for the Orange Bowl title.
Offense - Stanford put together one of the most complete offensive second halves that Virginia Tech has seen all season after holding a 13-12 halftime lead. They did it the way they've done all season, with a balanced attack of rushing and passing. The final damage totaled an evenly distributed 534 yards of total offense, with quarterback Andrew Luck leading the way with 287 yards passing and four touchdowns. After being frustrated by Virginia Tech's defense in the first half, Luck adjusted at halftime. With the chains off, Luck's presence opened up the run game as well for Stanford, proving once again why they are the best one-loss teams in America The Cardinal fans may have seen their last of Andrew Luck in that jersey, but it was one heck of a farewell show. GRADE: A-
Defense - Virginia Tech has a backfield full of playmakers, and Stanford absolutely shut down the Hokie rushing attack. The Hokies were held to only 66 yards as a team on the ground, and the Cardinal successfully turned the Hokies into a one-dimensional team by the second half. Once they accomplished that, Stanford began turning up the pressure on Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor, normally elusive and cool under pressure, was sacked eight times and forced into throwing a crucial interception in the third quarter that led to a two play, 97 yard scoring drive. If the Hokies had scored on that position, they could have tied the game at 19, but instead the Cardinal defense answered and changed the gameplan entirely for the Virginia Tech offense. GRADE: A
Coaching - When John Harbaugh gave his interview right before halftime, he mentioned that he liked "some" of what Stanford was able to get done in the first half. Andrew Luck mentioned after the game the change was about the little things. This was one of those moments when you determine that someone is one of best coaches in college football. Harbaugh and the Stanford staff repurposed Stanford's scheme at half to match defensive coordinator Bud Foster in the ongoing coaching chess match. As we saw, it worked out well for the Cardinal. Having said that, Harbaugh is so gone. His stock won't get any higher than it is right now, and the way he treated the question all night just left a feeling that he was ignoring the inevitable. GAME: A
Offense - Tyrod Taylor had one incredible play. Don't let that go unnoticed. But the Virginia Tech rushing attack of Darren Evans, Ryan Williams, and David Wilson combined for only 44 yards, well below the trio's average. The rushing attack usually helps keep the defense honest and allows Taylor to make more plays. The offensive line also struggled late to pick up the blitzes, and the Hokie offense could not find any kind of production in the second half against Stanford. GRADE: D+
Defense - Virginia Tech has been strong defending the run for most of the season, but for the first time since Boise State (the last time they played a Top 5 ranked team) strong defensive play was negated by giving up the home run. Throughout the game, strong stops would be quickly overshadowed by a crucial and/or big yard play by the Stanford offense. The few highlights the Hokies defense did have occurred in the first half, but by the end of 40 points and 534 yards a few highlights won't give you a good grade here. GRADE: D
Coaching - Bud Foster dialed up a new set of blitzes that gave the Stanford offense fits in the first half. Unfortunately, Harbaugh and the rest of the Cardinal staff adjusted at halftime and Virginia Tech had no counter. The speed with which the game got out of hand in the third quarter was surprising considering how resilient this Virginia Tech team has been all season. I assumed that the Hokies would need to play a full 60 minutes of hard-fought football in order to win. One half of perfect football wasn't enough to win against one of the better teams in Stanford's school history. GRADE: C-
FINAL GRADE: I was really excited about this game, and figured that it had the chances to be a quarterback duel for the history books between Luck and Taylor. Instead, I was most impressed with Stanford's defense and Harbaugh's ability to adjust at half. The game quickly turned into a promotional piece for Luck and his head coach. Now we will wait and wade through days filled with sources and tips, all claiming to know the fates of Harbaugh and Luck. My guess? Both gone. No sources, just a hunch. FWIW. GRADE: B-
Posted on: January 3, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 12:36 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
The Basics: Virginia Tech and Stanford meet in the Discover Orange Bowl on Monday night in Miami at 8:30 p.m. EST.
Why To Watch: Many fans have complained about the level of play in the games thus far in the bowl season. If you enjoyed the thrill of the Rose Bowl, you can expect a similar battle in Sun Life Stadium on Monday. After losing to Oregon in Autzen Stadium, the Cardinal took matters into their own hands to prove themselves as the best one-loss team in the nation. Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck led Stanford as they won the last seven games of their schedule by an average margin of 22.0 points.
Virginia Tech has been on quite the tear themselves, having won 11 straight after starting the season 0-2. The Hokies fell to Boise State and James Madison in a five day span that caused many to write the Hokies off in 2010. When Virginia Tech picked themselves up, they stormed into conference play with a "refuse to lose" attitude that carried them all the way to their fourth ACC Championship since joining the conference in 2004. Whether it was coming back from a 17 point halftime deficit at N.C. State or knocking off Georgia Tech with a fourth quarter kickoff return TD, the Hokies have displayed a resiliency in each game that is representative of their season.
As far as personnel goes, the game could end up being a duel between two of college football's hottest quarterbacks. Luck, likely the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, has been phenomenal all season and will look to finish strong what will likely be his last season at Stanford. Virginia Tech has been led by ACC Player of the Year Tyrod Taylor, who has overcome multiple injuries throughout his career to thrive in his final season in Blacksburg. Taylor entered with expectations of the next Michael Vick, but it has not been until 2010 when those comparisons have really felt accurate. Both quarterbacks are as dangerous with their legs as they are with their arms, and it should make for a thrilling back and forth between the two teams.
Keys to victory for Stanford: Establish the running game early, and use it to dictate the pace of the game. So much focus is put on Luck's ability to spread the ball out to several receivers, running back Stepfan Taylor is often overlooked as one of the most consistent aspects to the Cardinal offense. Averaging just over 85 yards per game, and ranking second in the Pac-10 with 15 touchdowns, Stanford can utilize Taylor to control the game - particularly if the Hokies are forced to focus heavily on defending the pass. Getting penetration into the Virginia Tech backfield will be crucial for Stanford as well, forcing Tyrod Taylor to make decisions on the run out of the pocket. Taylor is at his best when he has protection to hang in the pocket and then take off up the middle, Stanford should focus on forcing him to the sidelines where he has less room to make people miss in the open field.
Keys to victory for Virginia Tech: The Hokies have to play a complete game against Stanford. The Cardinal are so talented on both sides of the ball, not to mention well-coached and tough as nails. There will be no opportunities to take a play off and certainly no second chances for Virginia Tech. This is a winnable game for the Hokies, but they must be as close to mistake-free as possible. Stanford didn't blow out all of their opponents this year, but they did a great job of wearing down their opponents. It would be incredibly unoriginal for me to reference "Beamer Ball," but if the Hokies can get a big play out of their special teams unit it could be the deciding factor in a gritty matchup that could come down to the final minutes.
The Orange Bowl is like: One of the "other" Summer Blockbusters. You know those summers when Hollywood trots out a series of big budget movies? Well the Orange Bowl is like the Memorial Day release. It's not going to get the July 4th treatment or anything like that, but it certainly will set the tone for the rest of the summer season. The Orange Bowl has the potential to be one of those memorable games, so getcha popcorn ready.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:20 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Terrelle Pryor hasn't made much of a secret of the fact he's felt a bit disrespected this season. He started the season as a Heisman contender, but quickly fell off the radar thanks to guys like fellow quarterbacks Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore. Heck, Pryor wasn't even named to the Big Ten All Conference teams, instead being passed over for guys like Denard Robinson, Scott Tolzien and Dan Persa. Which was something he's already voiced his displeasure over via Twitter.
It's obvious that this all bothers Pryor, whether he wants to admit it or not, because it seems like every chance he gets to tell somebody that he's better he takes it. This time Pryor was talking to the Chicago Tribune when the topic of those other quarterbacks came up, and he made sure to point out that if he was in a different type of offense than the one they run at Ohio State, he'd be dominating college football.
"I'll put it like this: You put me in any of their offenses — any of them — and I'd dominate," Pryor said. "I'd dominate the nation. What those guys do, that's what they're supposed to do in their offense.
"They carry the ball 30 times a game. I carry the ball maybe five times. There are times I didn't even run the ball in a game. You put me in any of their offenses, where I can run the ball and have a choice to throw, I would dominate college football."
This is where I point out to Pryor that he could have been in one of those offenses had he chose to. After all, he was being recruited at Michigan too, but chose Ohio State. Which Pryor is fully aware of, but at the end of the day he makes sure to point out that while he may not receive all the accolades that the others do, there's only one thing he really cares about.
"People get into the statistical thing, and at the end of the day, what's the statistic that really matters?" Pryor said.
"We could have done better, but I'm 30-4. I want nothing else but to win. If I was having a lot of stats and I was losing, I would really be kind of mad. My competitive nature wants just to win, by any means. By any means, win. That's all I really care about, to tell you the truth, man."
Which is nice to hear, but it's obviously not the whole truth. I'm sure Pryor cares a lot about winning, but if it's the only thing he cares about, why is he spending so much time complaining about everything else?
Posted on: December 9, 2010 8:45 am
Edited on: December 9, 2010 9:51 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Sometime around the middle of the season, it became pretty widely accepted that the Heisman Trophy had been narrowed down to a two-man race. Oregon running back LaMichael James has looked unstoppable at times, leading the nation's most dominant offense to an undefeated season and now a spot in the BCS Championship Game. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, well, he's just been doing those Cam Newton things.
There were no surprises when the finalists were announced. On Saturday, James and Newton will be joined by Stanford's Andrew Luck and Boise State's Kellen Moore in Times Square for the addition of one more player to the storied history of the Heisman Trophy. Newton is considered to be the favorite, despite the controversy that has swirled since word of alleged solicitation by Cecil Newton came to light. With several writers being very vocal about leaving Newton off the ballot, what does the competition think?
"I don't care what happens off the field. Whatever that situation was, to me he's still the best player in the country,'' LaMichael James said Wednesday at the College Football Awards media session. "I would vote for him twice.''
James does not have a vote, much less two, but the point comes through loud and clear. The counter-argument to the Newton-hate is just that: he is the best player in the country. James has been phenomenal in Oregon's offense, but much of his success is a credit to that team. There have been times this season where Newton has just simply put the Tigers on his back and taken over a game. Without Newton, Auburn would not be in their current position.
Or perhaps James is hoping for a repeat of 2005. After Reggie Bush won the Heisman Trophy in New York he met his runner-up, Vince Young, in the National Championship. Bush got the Heisman, but Young led Texas to a thrilling last minute victory to win the title. Let Newton get the glory on Saturday, then James can get his revenge on January 10.
Posted on: December 6, 2010 7:20 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 10:10 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given annually to the nation's top senior quarterback, announced its 2010 winner today. Wisconsin signal-caller Scott Tolzien , who led the Badgers to an 11-1 record and a berth in the 2011 Rose Bowl, won the award today.
Now obviously, the pool for this award is always going to be diluted on account of it being limited to senior quarterbacks, and the tendency of high-level QB prospects to declare for the draft before their senior season only further weakens the available list of candidates. Tolzien won this award over a rather tepid list of finalists: Andy Dalton , Colin Kaepernick , Christian Ponder , and Ricky Stanzi.
Or, more to the point, Tolzien wasn't up against Cam Newton , Kellen Moore , Andrew Luck , Ryan Mallett , Dan Persa , or Brandon Weeden. And that's good for Tolzien, because his statistics and the context surrounding them are totally underwhelming. While Tolzien led all seniors with a 169.80 passing efficiency and 74.8 completion percentage, he was hardly the focal point of the offense or the main engine getting it into the end zone; Tolzien recorded just 16 passing touchdowns, compared to his team's otherworldly 46 rushing touchdowns (of which Tolzien had none). Tolzien's total yardage accounted for just 42.6% of Wisconsin's yards, which compares rather unfavorably to Colin Kaepernick's 57.7%. And yes, Wisconsin is ranked higher than Nevada and was involved in more blowouts in which Tolzien's services weren't needed ... but TCU just so happens to be ranked even higher than Wisconsin, was involved in many blowouts of its own, and Dalton's total yardage was still 51.6% of his Horned Frogs' total yards. Also, keep in mind Tolzien was facing a defense with eight men in the box basically all the time, thanks to Wisconsin's thundering ground game. That's a luxury Dalton and Kaepernick didn't enjoy, and they still outperformed Tolzien in every category except passing efficiency, where Tolzien's lead is utterly marginal.
Beyond this year, though, Tolzien's numbers scarcely fit the typical profile of a Unitas Award winner. Beginning in 1995, when noted option enthusiast Tommie Frazier won the award with Nebraska, the average passing touchdown total of the Unitas winner has been 32.5 TDs ... or basically twice that of Tolzien and his 16 touchdowns. The only winner in that timespan with fewer than seven more touchdowns than Tolzien was (no surprise) Frazier, and even he threw for 17 TDs his senior year.
It just seems, like John Clay inexplicably being named a Doak Walker finalist, as if Tolzien is being given this award in lieu of a team award, since Wisconsin is ranked fourth and hooray for that. And it's not as if Tolzien had a bad season, either; his performance against the Iowa defense, especially when he drove the team down the field for a touchdown in the third quarter with only Montee Ball healthy (and Ball lining up at wideout since Nick Toon was out, no less), was really a fantastic display of passing. But by and large, there's just no way Tolzien was a more deserving recipient of this award than Dalton or Kaepernick.
Tags: 2010 Unitas Award, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Big Ten, Brandon Weeden, Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick, Dan Persa, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Kellen Moore, Montee Ball, Nebraska, Nevada, Nick Toon, Ricky Stanzi, Ryan Mallett, Scott Tolzien, TCU, Tommie Frazier, Unitas Award, Unitas Award 2010, Unitas Award Finalists, Unitas Award Winner, Wisconsin