Better to be lucky and good

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Better to be lucky and good

It might actually take some Luck after all.

Andrew Luck, Heisman favorite in August, hoping to seal the deal in November -- well, his fans are hoping, he doesnt seem to be concerned with it -- but all of a sudden the consensus best player in college football might not be the frontrunner for the award given to the best player in college football.

Lucks numbers dont match up with some of the other QB contenders, but you know that. And you know why. And you know it has very little to do with Andrew.

To say his weapons are limited is like saying fast food is bad for you. Everybody accepts it, but few this side of Morgan Spurlock really understand the scope of it. Put Luck in Oklahoma States system or given him Oklahomas pass catchers, and the numbers would be, well, supersized..

HEISMAN WATCH: Meet Robert Griffin III

Stanfords top receiving targets over the last month: Griff Whalen (23 catches), a former walk-on who squeezes every once of ability out of his 6-1, 185-pound frame but possesses zero breakaway ability; Ryan Hewitt (15), a 240-pound H-back; Levine Toilolo (14), a lumbering 6-8 freak of nature; and Coby Fleener (11), a big-play tight end but a tight end nonetheless.

To steal a phrase from a drunken frat boy who probably does not attend Stanford the Cardinal has no RAC.

I dont have any way of checking, but Id venture to guess a substantial portion of Robert Griffin IIIs statistical fortune comes from Kendall Wrights Run After Catch totals. Ditto Brandon Weeden courtesy of Justin Blackmon, and Landry Jones thanks to Ryan Broyles (pre-ACL) and Kenny Stills. Just to scratch the surface.

The majority of Lucks passes that are completed 20 yards downfield result in 20-yard gains. Even his supposed big play guy, Chris Owusu, wasnt living up to that moniker when he was healthy. Owusus 10.7 yards per reception ranks 309th in the nation.

And dont even get me started on the drops. Fleener -- an All-American caliber talent -- had four of them in a recent two-game stretch, including an easy long touchdown grab against Oregon State. Toilolo and freshman Ty Montgomery both dropped surefire scores against Cal. Whats more, half of Lucks eight interceptions this season came on plays where the receiver either blatantly muffed the ball or simply fell down.

Factor in Stanfords power run mentality and it becomes all too obvious that the statistical playing field is far from level.

That said, Ive watched the same games you have. I realize that Andrew has been solid, steady, cool, reliable ... but he hasnt been magical. He hasnt blown us away. He hasnt had his Heisman moment.

Does he deserve the Trophy based on what hes done to this point? Probably not. Griffin and Wisconsins Russell Wilson have a better case, and Alabama running back Trent Richardson might as well.

But theres still time. One game, against a Top-25 team that just happens to have an immense national following, at home, Thanksgiving weekend. Luck can vault himself back into the favorite-status by beating Notre Dame, and beating them with flare. One Heisman moment is all it takes to make this a one-horse race.

Because when all is said and done, I believe the voters -- and the nation, for that matter -- want Luck to win. He is the Golden Boy, he is Peyton 2.0, he is ability meets humility, he is all that is good about college sports.

Furthermore, I would submit that this year -- unlike 2009 -- tie goes to the Cardinal. Remember, the voting system is weighted; three points for a first-place vote, two for a second-place vote, one for a third-place vote. While Luck might not be everybodys No. 1 right now, hes probably still on just about everybodys ballot. Ironically, its the one time all season statistics might work in his favor.

And we all know, a little Luck never hurt anybody.

Stanford tops North Carolina on PKs, advances to NCAA final

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USATSI

Stanford tops North Carolina on PKs, advances to NCAA final

HOUSTON — For the second straight season, Stanford found itself depending on penalty kicks to advance to the College Cup final.

Like last season, the Cardinal came out on top. After each team converted its first nine attempts in the tiebreaker, Amir Bashti made it 10-for-10 for Stanford. Tar Heels defender Alex Comsia then sent his try over the crossbar to end it, giving Stanford a 10-9 win.

"They had just as many good chances as us, and it could have been a 1-0 game either way," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said.

Stanford (14-3-5) will face Wake Forest in the College Cup final on Sunday in search of its second straight national championship.

"It's not his fault. We could have done things in the game to have his back," North Carolina defender Colton Storm said of Comsia's miss. "It could have been any of us."

"It's the nature of the game," North Carolina coach Carlos Somoano said. "Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't. Sometimes there's moments you seize the moments, and sometimes it runs away from you."

North Carolina (14-3-4) had the two best chances of the game. Late in the second half, forward Alan Winn was denied by goalkeeper Andrew Epstein, who made a nice save with his legs.

Later, Epstein made the best save of the match in the final seconds of the second overtime on a shot from forward Tucker Hume. After gaining possession in the right side of the 18-yard box, Hume unleashed a shot that Epstein deflected wide with his legs.

"He made the plays to keep the game at 0, and he deserves credit," Somoano said.

After a flurry of corner kicks and a free kick in an attacking area, Stanford had the best opportunity to score in the first overtime on a header from Drew Skundrich, but he put if over goalkeeper James Pyle, who had six saves. Foster Langsdorf, the Stanford goal leader who scored in the team's first three tournament games and has 15 on the season, had three shots and two on goal but was unable to break the deadlock before the game went to penalty kicks.

"Any result like that is going to be tough to swallow," Storm said. "Stanford's a really good team. We each had our chances. National semifinal, it's going to be tough to swallow no matter what."

While Epstein was unable to stop any of North Carolina's penalties in the shootout, his saves late in the game enabled Stanford to continue its quest for a repeat.

"Andy's never really attracted much attention, but when you're his coach you appreciate him," Gunn said. "You can depend on him."

Stanford has won 15 of its last 18 games after starting the season with three ties and a loss. The Cardinal have yet to concede a goal through four tournament games, while North Carolina's season ends after a third consecutive tournament shutout.

After winning the first national championship in program history last season, Gunn praised his team for continuing to push forward this season.

"It's incredible," Gunn said. "You've always got to be optimistic. There's no point in being anything else. We started the year so well in January. I thought, 'These players are so hungry.'"

Seton Hall slips past Cal basketball at Pearl Harbor Invitational

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AP

Seton Hall slips past Cal basketball at Pearl Harbor Invitational

HONOLULU Jabari Bird nearly notched his first collegiate double-double with 22 points and a career-high nine rebounds, but just as his effort fell short, so did California men's basketball's efforts against Seton Hall. The Pirates slipped past the Golden Bears, 60-57, at the Pearl Harbor Invitational to hand Cal its second loss of the season. The Bears are now 7-2.

Seton Hall's Angel Delgado scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Delgado, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward, made 6 of 9 shots from the field in a game-high 36 minutes played.

Desi Rodriguez scored 15 points and Khadeen Carrington had 14 points with four assists for the Pirates (7-2).

Carrington tied it at 45 with just under 12 minutes to play on a 3-pointer from the right wing, which ignited a 7-0 Seton Hall run. California never regained the lead.

Ivan Rabb's putback pulled the Golden Bears (7-2) within 58-57 with 31.1 seconds remaining, but Carrington and Delgado each hit a free throw to extend the Pirates' lead to 60-57 with 2.7 seconds left.

Bird had a chance to sent it into overtime, but his 3-pointer from about 25 feet as time expired was no good.

California closed out the first half with an 11-4 run to turn a four-point deficit into a 34-31 lead.

It was just the second meeting between the teams with California winning 81-76 on Dec. 8, 1973.

BIG PICTURE

California: Rabb, a 6-11 sophomore, struggled for the second consecutive game. He made just 3 of his 8 shots from the field and finished with eight points after being held to a season-low six points against Princeton Tuesday. Rabb, who has been playing with a left wrist injury, entered Wednesday's game averaging 17.5 points per game.

Seton Hall: The Pirates reeled off their third straight win despite making just 9 of their 20 attempts (45 percent) from the free-throw line. They shot just 46.6 percent (21 of 45) on free throws for the two-day tournament.

UP NEXT

California will host UC Davis Saturday, its seventh home game in 10 contests this season.