First, for your viewing pleasure, eleven minutes and thirty-one seconds of Andrew Luck highlights, courtesy of the Stanford Athletics Department...
Along with Auburn's Cam Newton, Oregon's LaMichael James, and Boise State's Kellen Moore, Andrew Luck was named a finalist for the 2010 Heisman Trophy on Monday afternoon, capping a phenomenal regular season. Let's take a moment to let that sink in...
Okay, so what does that mean? If you're a golf fan you might remember the mockery that was the 2001 Skins Game. (First of all, the entire Skins Game concept is a mockery. You know how it goes --four golfers are chosen to play a casual skins game, just like you and your three buddies down at the local links, only they're playing for a million dollar pot while wearing microphones so a television audience can listen to their inane conversations: "Nice par, Freddie!" or "That's a good ball, Phil." But I digress...)
Anyway, in 2001 the network execs decided to crank up the drama by implementing the "validation rule." In order to get the cash, it wasn't good enough just to win a hole; you had to validate it by either winning or sharing the following hole. This turned out just as ridiculous as you might guess, as no one was able to validate until Greg Norman turned the trick on the 17th hole and pocketed eight hundred grand.
If Toby Gerhart's trip to the Downtown Athletic Club last year announced the Stanford Cardinal as a legitimate football program deserving of a seat at the table alongside USC, Texas, Alabama, Notre Dame, and all the rest, Andrew Luck's selection yesterday simply validated it.
The impact on recruiting cannot be emphasized enough. Any four- or five-star recruit being courted by Stanford will also receive visits from places like Notre Dame and USC, and while they can't offer the same level of education a student would receive at Stanford, coaches from those universities have always arrived with two or three trump cards in their pockets. Stanford has always been an easy school to recruit against, I'm guessing, because coaches only had to ask their recruits a few simple questions: Do you want to win a national championship? Do you want to play on television? Do you want to win a Heisman Trophy? Do you want to play in the NFL?
In years past, those questions could easily steer a player away from Stanford University, but thanks to Jim Harbaugh and Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck, a high school senior who answers in the affirmative to any of those questions can still confidently accept a scholarship to Stanford knowing that he'll be joining a program that can compete with any program in the nation.
(Oh, and if you're wondering about Harbaugh's future, numerous outlets are reporting that Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby has offered him an extension and that Harbaugh won't be going anywhere any time soon.)
The Mighty Card is here to stay.