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.

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.