Stanford's two biggest football names -- coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Andrew Luck -- didn't address their uncertain futures in any depth in the aftermath of their team's 40-12 demolition of Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl Monday night. (Here's my column on the game).
Luck said he wouldn't make an "impulsive" decision on whether to stay or go before the NFL's Jan.15th deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft. When pressed a little, the redshirt sophomore said: "I think there are a lot of worse decisions you might have to make in life. I don't know. I don't mean to be rude but I'd rather not address that subject anymore. I'd like to enjoy the night."
The first question Harbaugh got in his postgame press conference (which I attended after watching Luck play in person for the first time) was whether he had coached his last game at Stanford.
That question obviously irritated Harbaugh, who replied: "Oh, please, please, give me a break! You know, have some respect for the game. It's about the performance tonight of these players, and I love them. Let's talk about them." Later, Harbaugh deflected another attempt at a similar question, saying, "I'd just rather enjoy the moment."
Luck threw four TD passes in Stanford's win, in which the Cardinal outscored Virginia Tech 27-0 in the second half. All four TD passes were to tight ends, and all covered at least 25 yards.
He made throws off his back foot, in traffic, on the run.... In other words, Luck did nothing to dissuade the projections of him getting picked No.1 overall if he comes out. He completed 18 of 23 passes for 287 yards, one interception and the four TDs. (By comparison, Jimmy Clausen never threw for even 200 yards in a single NFL game this season, and he had three touchdown passes the entire year. I know it's a different level of competition, but still).
The Panthers, of course, hold the No.1 draft pick of 2011 by virtue of their horrible 2-14 record in 2010.
But it remains unclear whether Luck will leave. He loves college and seems genuinely torn about the decision. I talked to one highly respected NFL front-office type Monday night after the game. This guy usually knows everything, but he said he wasn't sure at all that Luck would come out.
Harbaugh is generally considered very likely to leave – either to coach the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Michigan Wolverines (his alma mater), Carolina Panthers or some other mystery team. The guy is about to get some serious offers and has more options on the table than Luck, whose decision boils down to "stay or go."
It should be interesting. But nothing got decided Monday night, except that No.5 Stanford (12-1) was a whole, whole lot better than ACC champion Virginia Tech (11-3).
Stanford fans chanted "One more year! One more year!" at Luck as he accepted the trophy for being the game's Most Outstanding Player, but whether he gives them that or gives Panther fans what they desperately want is still very much up in the air.
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