The Andrew Luck sweepstakes have begun in the NFL as teams wait for the next John Elway or Peyton Manning to graduate. In the meantime, Luck will be trying to lead his Stanford Cardinal squad to another BCS bowl without the help of his former head coach, Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh bolted for the NFL and accepted a position with the San Francisco 49ers. Luck had been tipped to follow suit and move up to the next level. Luck decided to play out another year in Stanford.
The Cardinal has been given a No. 6 ranking in the preseason coaches poll. I have a big problem with this. Yes, Luck has all the tangibles and intangibles that leave a puddle of drool next to every NFL scout’s feet. However, the Pac-10 has been upgraded to the Pac-12, and, oh yea, he lost his head coach.
Luck goes to Stanford, so you know he remains capable of digesting a new system in the time span allotted from the beginning of spring to the end of the summer. My question lies with how his fellow teammates can handle assimilating into a new system without any hiccups.
Anthony Wilkerson personifies what type of team this Stanford unit desires to be. His unselfish play to ice the game against Arizona State last November speaks volumes about the type of team this is. It thrives to be great while remaining unselfish and together as one.
That is quite noble of the Cardinal, but that does not guarantee anything, let alone a 'w.' Stanford must play at Arizona during the third week of the season for its first true test of the 2011 schedule. Two weeks later it hosts the UCLA Bruins for a tricky home matchup.
I realize on the opening slide my basis for stating whether teams were overrated or not was how they would fair by Oct. 1. However, Stanford’s schedule demands bending that guideline—I made it up, so it’s legal, don’t worry.
Luck and Stanford face the Pac-12’s version of the gauntlet. Their last seven games are as follows: Washington at home, USC away, Oregon State away, Oregon at home, California at home, Notre Dame at home and the Pac-12 Championship.
No matter how frequently NFL team executives day dream about drafting Luck during the NFL 2012 draft, there is no way on this green earth Stanford comes out of that final stretch without a blemish to its record. If it does, I will gladly admit I was wrong.
Until that happens, Stanford must prove itself worthy of the No. 6 ranking.