NCAA

Luck, best player in college football, won't win Heisman

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Luck, best player in college football, won't win Heisman

Soon well all know. By this time Andrew Luck and five of his peers are on their way to New York where on Saturday they will be trotted out by the New York Athletic Club to a front row seat where one will be chosen and four will have no choice but to applaud and smile sheepishly while sticking pins in a voodoo doll they have cleverly hidden in their pants pocket.The Heisman Trophy has, for the past several years, been something of a regional popularity contest that seems to strictly adhere to the What have you done for me lately attitude that pervades the sports landscape these days.In fact, if recent history holds true, its not a good thing to be the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy before a ball has been kicked in anger.

Such is the plight of our own local hero Andrew Luck. At the start of the season, the Stanford quarterback was considered odds-on (as they say in horse racing) to win the coveted trophy emblematic of the best player in college football. And, let there be no doubt -- Andrew Luck is the best player in college football this year. A fact to which the upcoming NFL player draft will attest.But, therein lies the rub. Is it really about the best player in college football, or is it the player with the most dazzling numbers who just happened to have had a big game on the last Saturday before the Heisman votes are due in? Or -- in the interest of complicating things even more -- is it the player who plays for a higher-ranked team whos had twice the national television exposure as anyone else? Or is it body of work over the course of a career? Or nicest smile? Or most congenial?As a longtime voter in the Heisman derby I can tell you that Ive made votes that I have later regretted, although they were done with cause at the time. Its just that there is no definitive right way to vote. So, before all the letters written in crayon by the lunatic fringe telling me what an idiot I am for making the selection I did, I will tell you that, yes, I did vote for Andrew Luck. I will also tell you I am sworn not to discuss my vote. So much for morality.Now, the more important question is, do I think Andrew Luck will win? That would depend on what time of day you ask me and whos asking. If I were being asked by the Stanford Tree for instance I would say, Absolutely, dont you worry your little limbs about it. If, however, I were to be asked by someone not wearing pants made of bark and sporting a goofy smile attached to a green felt leaf, I would have to say, No.I think that Robert Griffin III will win the trophy and quite honestly I think hes the second-best candidate out there. The difference between RG3 and Luck is that Griffin played this past Saturday while Luck had no choice but to sit home and watch Seinfeld re-runs. And, to make matters worse, Griffin not only played -- he lit it up against a good opponent, on national television.I think that Robert Griffin III will have an excellent career at the next level. I think hes a worthy candidate for the Heisman Trophy too, and I know in terms of character hes right up there with well, with Andrew Luck.What he isnt, is the best player in college football this year. That guy will be the guy in the front row with the voodoo doll in his pants pocket who just happened not to be playing on the weekend before the votes were counted.

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

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AP

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

BOX SCORE

PALO ALTO — Bryce Love rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown despite missing most of the fourth quarter after aggravating an ankle injury, and No. 20 Stanford held off California 17-14 on Saturday to keep its Pac-12 title hopes alive.

K.J. Costello completed 17 of 26 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown, Ben Edwards made a key interception in the fourth quarter and Cameron Scarlett rushed for 49 yards on the final drive in place of Love to help the Cardinal (8-3, 7-2 Pac-12) milk the clock and win its eighth straight Big Game.

Stanford can earn a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against USC but needs some help.

The Cardinal can get there if No. 15 Washington State loses to No. 16 Washington next week. If the Cougars — who beat Stanford 24-21 on Nov. 4 — beat the Huskies, they get the nod because of the tiebreaker.

The nation's leading rusher going into the game, Love was held in check most of the game by Cal's defense and sat out the final 11:43 after re-injuring his ankle that has bothered him for the past month. He did stay on the field long enough to score a 57-yard touchdown — his 11th run of 50 yards or longer this season.

Scarlett, Love's primary backup all season, also came up big for Stanford. Scarlett rushed for 61 yards, the majority coming on the Cardinal's last drive that took the final 7:25. Scarlett's 2-yard gain on 4th-and-1 kept the drive going.

Patrick Laird ran for 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries while Ross Bowers passed for 182 yards and a touchdown for California. The Golden Bears (5-6, 2-6) need a win in their final game to become bowl eligible in coach Justin Wilcox's first season.

THE TAKEAWAY

California: The Bears made the Cardinal sweat and kept the game a lot closer than many thought possible. Wilcox's defense did a good job bottling up Love most of the game but couldn't stop Scarlett on the final drive which was huge. Still, there are plenty of positives for Cal to take out of this one.

Stanford: It wasn't the best game for David Shaw's team but the Cardinal gritted it out and held off a pesky Cal team that had plenty to play for. The conference title can still happen but before that Stanford has a pretty big game coming up against Notre Dame.

UP NEXT

California: Ends the regular season at UCLA on Saturday.

Stanford: The Cardinal stay home and will host No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday. Stanford has won the last two and six of last eight against the Irish.

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

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AP

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New Orleans Saints say running back Daniel Lasco has feelings in his extremities after suffering a spinal injury making a tackle on a kickoff return during today's game at Buffalo.

Lasco was loaded into an ambulance on the field and taken to a hospital.

He was hurt six minutes into the second quarter when he appeared to lower his head while tackling Bills returner Brandon Tate. 

Lasco played four seasons at the University of California, Berkeley. He gained 1,471 yards from scrimmage with 14 touchdowns his junior year. In 2015 as a senior, Lasco was limited to nine games and only totaled 355 yards. 

The Saints selected Lasco in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report