In preparation for this week's Game of the Century, this one featuring your Stanford Cardinal and the Oregon Ducks, I've reached out to a variety of experts who will give us their own perspective on the game. There should be something for everyone.
Leading off the series we have Scott Ostler, sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Though he claims not to be a college football expert, neither am I, so that gives us one thing in common. He's been named Sportswriter of the Year thirteen times; we don't have that in common.
Last weekend the world came to a halt for the Game of the Century between LSU and Alabama, two teams that we're accustomed to seeing on the marquees of college football's biggest games. During your time at the L.A. Times you certainly saw many big games between USC and UCLA, but how strange is it that the most important college football game in America this weekend will be played between the Stanford Cardinal and the Oregon Ducks?
That is pretty weird. It's strange that people now talk about Stanford as a physically dominating team. That's like people saying Kim Kardashian is a deep thinker.
Tell me what you see in Andrew Luck. Most experts are saying he's the best quarterback prospect to come out of college since John Elway. What do you see that makes him great?
Luck calls his own plays. I guess a lot of quarterbacks could do that, but Luck is the only one who has impressed his coach enough to be given that shot (and he has a rare coach). I like his ability to run. He looks like he'd run the 40 in about 6.5, but he can really move. I wonder what kind of basketball player he would have been? Great small forward? He has a great presence on the football field. The game-tying drive against USC won him the Heisman, that was his defining moment.
Even if Stanford ends up beating Oregon this weekend and finishing out their schedule undefeated at 13-0, they could still be left out of the BCS Championship game if LSU and Oklahoma State both finish undefeated. Is this okay? Where do you stand on the BCS? Should we have a playoff system?
I could not hate the BCS more than I do. It's the ultimate irony that Stanford could get cheated out of a shot at the national championship by a computer. My argument always comes down to this: if deciding the two finalists by computer is a great idea, why doesn't any other sport use that system?
Finally, what's your prediction for Saturday's game? Tell me how you think the game will go, and give me a final score.
I'm going Stanford, 42-35. Stanford's problems with USC's speed might have been a wake-up call for Stanford. Otherwise, they could wind up losing 65-42. Maybe I'm picking Stanford on emotion. I hate elitism in college sports (Duke), I root for underdogs and believe there is a place for borderline students in big-time college sports, but there's something about Stanford athletics I can't help but root for. Tara Vanderveer has brainwashed me in this respect.