Why are Luck's Heisman chances dwindling?


Why are Luck's Heisman chances dwindling?

The votes are in, the predictions are stacking up and it doesnt look good for the one-time front-runner

Andrew Luck, the presumed winner of the Heisman just a few months ago, is trailing in the recent polls. Well be talking about it tonight on the Chronicle Live Blitz.

Right now, based on voter projections, it doesnt look great for Luck. Unless voters decided to take a look at the big picture. At what the Heisman is really supposed to be about.

We know out here that if Luck doesnt win the Heisman it would be a ridiculous turn of events. Lucks body of work is more impressive than his competitions. In two seasons, hes led his team to a 23-2 record. More than any other single factor, hes responsible for Stanfords ascent into college footballs elite.

RELATED: Heisman Watch -- R ... G ... 3

Yet he may be eclipsed by Robert Griffin III of Baylor or Trent Richardson of Alabama. Fine players. Nice seasons. Not particularly transcendent, not in the way Luck has been.

So what can we do about it? Nothing, short of hoping the next major earthquake shoves our little tectonic mass closer to the Eastern Time zone.

Because as much as you want to blame David Shaw for not allowing Luck to run up 78 points against Notre Dame, or for not going all vertical all the time, the real reason Luck will lose the Heisman is simply invisibility. The voters east of the Mississippi (or even east of the Great Salt Lake) rarely saw Luck.

The saw him last January when he beat Virginia Tech -- ancient history to voters. And they saw him when he lost to Oregon -- Luck didnt have a horrible game but it certainly wasnt one of his best. Voters who hadnt seen much of him probably shrugged and said, Thats it? Voters who have a steady diet of SEC games dont pay attention to football out in foreign territory unless the name Trojans is attached to it.

So is there any chance that Luck wins the Heisman?
RELATED: Luck one of five Heisman finalists

Actually, I think there is. Whenever deciding to bestow an important award, voters usually have one piece of information that pushes one candidate over the top. Sure, it could be something obvious like yards gained or passer rating.

Or, it could be -- lets hope it is -- the actual description of the award. The Heisman recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.

If voters actually pay attention to what theyre voting for, then Luck should win the Heisman. He turned down millions -- knowing it was money he could never get back because of the changing structure of the NFL -- to come back to Stanford for another year. He carries a strong GPA in a difficult major. Hes humble and geeky and a team-first guy and -- to our knowledge -- has never stolen a computer or had his father try to sell him to the highest bidder. He exemplifies integrity.

Luck represents what the Heisman is all about. Of course, thats not the way it usually works in the world of voting.

But in this season of filth - when college football is so degraded, so slimy, so horrifying that we couldnt even make it up -- maybe voters will consider the bigger picture. Maybe in the wake of Ohio State tattoos and Miami prostitutes and -- most of all -- the horror chamber that was Penn State football (Jerry Sandusky was arrested on more charges on Wednesday morning) voters will have taken a longer look. Will want to bestow college footballs highest award on a kid who worked his tail off for three years, did his best, and illustrated what college football should and could still be about.

If Luck doesnt win, we know hell be fine.

And if Luck doesnt win, we know college football wont be fine. It will be just one more embarrassment in a game full of them.

Freelance writer Ann Killion is a regular contributor to and Chronicle Live.

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino


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


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


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.


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.


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


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

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.