NCAA

Manning endorses Luck to Colts?

589164.jpg

Manning endorses Luck to Colts?

If Indianapolis winds up with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Peyton Manning is OK with the team drafting Andrew Luck, Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian revealed on his weekly radio show Monday night.

Or did he?

"The bottom line is that if the right person is thereand it has to be the right personthen now is the time to make that choice," Polian said. "Peyton and I have spoken about that and he's OK with that."

There's a big difference between Manning proclaiming, "I'm totally fine with the Colts drafting Andrew Luck," and Polian declaring that Manning is in fact OK with it.

Manning is one of the most competitive players the league has ever seen, and unless he knows in his heart of hearts that he doesn't think he can play at an elite level again, I doubt that he would endorse the Colts drafting his immediate replacement.

The irony? When Luck was contemplating whether to enter the 2011 NFL Draft or return to Stanford for another season, it was Manning who advised Luck to return to school.

Manning had made the same decision 15 years prior.

In 1996, Manning finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy rankings and was presumed to be the No. 1 pick in the 1997 NFL Draft. He surprised everybody when he elected to return to Tennessee for his senior season.

Manning finished second in the 1997 Heisman voting (Charles Woodson), and his Volunteers fell to Nebraska 42-17 in the Orange Bowl.

Luck finished second in the Heisman voting a year ago, and led Stanford to a magical 12-1 season, culminating in an Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.

Like Manning in 1997, Luck was the consensus preseason favorite to win the Heisman this year, and despite Stanford's recent loss to Oregon, he is still a leading candidate.

Stanford's signal-caller is widely considered the most NFL-ready college quarterback since Manning in '98. If the Colts are on the clock with the No. 1 pick, they can't possibly pass up on him can they?

Manning, the NFL-record four-time MVP, is recovering from multiple offseason neck surgeries, and although the Colts are hopeful that he can return as early as this season, there is reason to believe that Manning may never be able to play again.

Without their Super Bowl-winning quarterback, the Colts are 0-10 in 2011. The last time they started a season 0-10? 1997 -- the year before they selected Manning with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

After going 3-13 in his rookie season, the Colts have made the playoffs 11 of the past 12 seasons, including nine seasons in a row.

It seems as if the Peyton Manning Era is nearing an end in Indianapolis. It's only a matter of time before the Andrew Luck Era begins.

Apparently, Manning is okay with it.

Drew Shiller is a Web Producer at CSNBayArea.com. You can follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

barcelona-ap.jpg
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

cal-us.jpg
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.