Last year, Andrew Luck shocked the football world by returning to Stanford for his junior year instead of entering the NFL Draft. It was a foregone conclusion that he would have been the first overall pick in the draft and would be halfway through his first NFL season as a starter.
With the college football season winding down, it is once again believed that Luck will leave Stanford and take his game to the NFL. Once again, if he were to come out, he is believed to be the No. 1 overall selection.
Ask any college football expert and he or she will tell you that there is no way Luck is going to pull a Matt Leinart and stay in school for his senior year. Of course, that was said last year too, especially when his coach, Jim Harbaugh, left the Stanford sideline to be the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Yet there he stayed to play one more season with his friends and teammates.
Andrew Luck is considered the best college quarterback prospect since John Elway and Peyton Manning. He runs a pro-style offense, has the freedom to call his own plays if he sees the need, is accurate with a strong arm and has great pocket presence.
What isn't being talked about, though, is that there are no guarantees in sports. Mike Tyson couldn't lose to Buster Douglas, the Patriots were going to beat the Giants to secure an unbeaten season and there was no way the Red Sox were going to miss the playoffs this year.
So while the odds are stacked in favor of Andre Luck entering the NFL Draft, occasionally the perfect storm of events will come together and throw common beliefs out the window.
For all of the reasons Andrew Luck has to enter the NFL, his initial rookie contract won't be that high up on his list. Thanks to the new CBA and rookie pay scale, gone are the days of ludicrous rookie contracts.
When Sam Bradford was taken No. 1 overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 2010 draft, he signed a six-year, $78 million deal with $50 million guaranteed. It was, and will remain the largest contract, ever for a rookie.
Whenever Luck does leave Stanford, the deal he signs will look more like what last year's No. 1 selection Cam Newton is playing with, which is four years and $22 million, all guaranteed.
Sure, $22 million is a lot of money, but Luck already turned down one huge payday to stay in school and there's no saying that he wouldn't do it again.
It may be hard to believe that Andrew Luck won't win the Heisman Trophy this season, but it could happen. History has shown that the favorite isn't always the one that goes home with the trophy.
For Luck to not win the Heisman this year, Standford would have to lose one of their remaining games, or Luck would need to play his last three games of the season like Matt Leinart plays NFL games—poorly.
Even if Stanford goes undefeated and Luck doesn't go the Leinart route and plays three unspectacular but respectable games, he still may leave empty-handed if one of the other candidates finds a way to separate himself from the other contenders.
You could run all the projections and talk to every expert from one coast to the other and it won't mean a thing when the ballots are due. Charles Woodson—1997 over Peyton Manning—Eric Crouch—2001 over Rex Grossman—and Gino Torretta—1992 over Garrison Hearst—were all upsets when the votes were counted.
Just because someone is the season long front-runner, doesn't mean that he will be the up on stage shaking hands and giving a speech.
Back in 1983, a Stanford quarterback you may have heard of before stunned the football world by refusing to sign with the team that drafted him. He was traded to Denver, won a couple Super Bowls and is regarded as one of the best to ever play the position.
After this season Andrew Luck, another Stanford quarterback, could shock the football world and decide not to enter the draft because he won't want to play for the team that drafts him. The difference between Luck and John Elway is that Luck could return for his senior year of college, where Elway was done with school.
Looking at the teams that are winning the 'Suck for Luck' competition, there is no guarantee that Luck will want to play for them because of the state of the franchise or because of who is already in place. He may not want to come out and play for the Miami Dolphins, an organization is disarray with an owner that players and coaches don't trust.
Then there are teams like the St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers that have young, talented, franchise quarterbacks already in place and the Minnesota Vikings that traded up last year to draft Christian Ponder in the first round to be their quarterback of the future.
Andrew Luck has the luxury of knowing which team will draft him when he enters the NFL draft, before he has to declare for it. He may look at his options and decide that spending one more year as the main man in Stanford would be in his best interest.
The dream of most college football players is to win the national championship. Andrew Luck returned to Stanford this season for another chance at conquering the BCS and being the top football team in the land.
This is going to be a difficult feat for Luck and his Cardinal teammates. Despite owning the longest winning streak in the nation at 17 games, Stanford is still ranked fourth in the latest BCS standings. Ahead of them are LSU, Oklahoma State and Alabama.
The fact that 'Bama is ahead of them with a loss on their record does not bode well for Stanford. For Stanford to have a chance at leapfrogging the Crimson Tide, they will have to lay a whipping into the No. 8 Oregon Ducks next week and win their last two games in convincing fashion against California and Notre Dame. They are also going to need either LSU, Oklahoma State or Alabama to lay an egg over the next three weeks.
While many believe that Stanford is the best team in the country, that doesn't guarantee them a spot in the BCS National Championship game. If they are left out, Andrew Luck might see it as another challenge to conquer and decide to return to school to win the first national championship for Stanford since 1926.