NCAA

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.

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

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AP

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

Men's basketball teams from Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona were staying at a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, near where a van drove into pedestrians on Thursday, but team officials said everyone was safe.

Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot.

Tulane also was playing in Barcelona, but it was unclear if they were staying in the same hotel as the other teams.

Oregon State assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb posted to Facebook: "We are all luckily ok. Our hotel/restaurant is located right on Las Ramblas. This tragedy happened right in front of us as our team just sat down for pregame meal. Thoughts and prayers for all those that are were hurt."

The Beavers' game Thursday night was canceled. It was supposed to be the first of a five-game tour.

Clemson was scheduled to play Thursday night against a Spanish All-Star team.

"We've been in contact with our men's basketball program currently in Barcelona and the entire travel party is safe and secure. Their exhibition game for tonight has been cancelled and the team will return to Clemson as previously scheduled tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona," the South Carolina school said in a statement.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that the three teams were staying in the same hotel.

"We are fine. Thankful to be safe and together," Brownell wrote.

Tulane athletic director Troy Tannen confirmed via social media that the Green Wave players and staff were safe.

Replying to a Twitter inquiry from a Portland television about whether the team was OK, Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle responded: "Yes we are, happened directly in front of our hotel while we were having a team meal in the restaurant, so senseless and sad! All accounted4."

Oregon State said it has not yet determined the remaining schedule for the team, which was supposed to be on the exhibition tour until Aug. 25.

A spokesman for Arizona said the Wildcats have canceled their third and final exhibition of their tour and "are currently working on travel plans to return home."

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

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USATSI

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

Your education dollars are always at work, so it is with pride and bewilderment that we report that the University of California’s incoming class (2021, for those few who can get out in four years) marched to Memorial Stadium and formed the world’s largest human letter.
 
It was . . . wait for it . . . a “C.” A 7,196-person-strong “C.”
 
But the school, as it occasionally does, missed a golden opportunity to seize a golden opportunity. All they needed to do was have a quick whip-round, get $55,586.44 from each and every one of the captives . . . er, students, and they could have wiped out their entire athletics deficit in one night.
 
You see, while forming gigantic letters is always fun (or as the kids used to say when double negatives didn’t mean voting, never not fun), Cal is staring at quite possibly the bleakest future a major athletic university ever has. The athletic department, whose chief officer, Mike Williams, has just announced his intention to quit, is over $400 million in debt between construction costs, ambition, shrinking allegiance and the absence of a Phil Knight-level sugar daddy to buy the pain away.
 
And before you blame Williams, he inherited this indigestible planetoid from his predecessor, Sandy Barbour, who grew it from her predecessor, Steve Gladstone, and hastened it from . . . well, you get the drift. 
 
Cal’s been blowing through money it hasn’t been taking in for years upon years, didn’t realize the deficit-cutting benefits of the Pac-12 Network (because they largely don’t exist), and the day of reckoning looms closer and closer, especially now that new chancellor Carol Christ (no apparent relation) described the deficit as “corrosive” and has insisted that the athletic department have a balanced budget by 2020.
 
In short, the school may only be able to afford a lower-case “C” before too long. Maybe in comic sans.