Good Luck!

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:34 PM ET

CALGARY - Indianapolis Colts fans are calling it a case of hard luck to have lost Peyton Manning for the season and perhaps even longer.

Certainly, Luck has everything to do with the situation.

But call it fortunate, given Andrew Luck might well be the Colts’ reward for having suffered the loss of one of the game’s best-ever quarterbacks to a neck/back injury, possibly for good.

The Stanford quarterback is the overwhelming favourite to win the NCAA’s Heisman Trophy as the nation’s best college football player, and he’s pretty much a consensus choice to be the first player picked in the 2012 NFL Draft.

It’ll be tough for any other college talent to overtake Luck, the runner-up last winter to Heisman winner Cam Newton, in that regard.

Sure, there are others who are Heisman worthy, most of them super QBs in their own right in Boise State’s Kellen Moore, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, Houston’s Case Keenum and Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson. There’s Alabama running back Trent Richardson rightly in the mix, as well.

But Luck has that little extra that gives him the edge.

The Stanford QB is running hot through seven games, completing nearly 72% of his chucks for 1,888 yards and 20 touchdowns against just three INTs. And the 22-year-old is a winner in helping lead — along with head coach-turned-NFL bench boss Jim Harbaugh — the Cardinal to become a Pac-12 power and BCS championship contender.

“I don’t know how you could find a more efficient quarterback that’s ever played college football,” USC head coach Lane Kiffin told the New York Daily News. “If you put his numbers up — what he’s done … wins and losses and red-zone production — he’s pretty much perfect. You hear people say he’s the best quarterback prospect since John Elway. You had a team come out and say before he declared that he was going to be the No. 1 pick in the draft.”

You can judge for yourself with Luck on the big stage Saturday night against a top-notch opponent in Kiffin and the USC Trojans (6 p.m., ABC). It’s a great opportunity to see if, indeed, the Heisman heir is NFL worthy.

The way the Colts are going — 0-7 and coming off a brutal 62-7 buttkicking by the New Orleans Saints last Sunday — it looks like Luck is on their side when it comes to finishing dead-last and securing that No.-1 draft pick.

Could you imagine a franchise being so fortunate as to transition right from one franchise QB to another in such quick succession? From Manning, arguably one of the best pivots of all-time, to Luck, considered one of the best NFL-ready quarterbacks to come out of the college ranks?

Wow!

Talk about good timing … good fortune … good Luck.

FIRST DOWN

Speaking of Manning, here’s one for trivia buffs: Who’s the only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy in its 76-year history? Tick, tick, tick, tick – give up? Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997. He edged — wait for it — Tennessee’s all-world QB Peyton Manning. Double wow! … Clemson QB Tajh Boyd is suddenly in the Heisman conversation and will likely be for the next few years. The sophomore co-leads the nation with 24 TDs this season. He’s tied with Moore of undefeated No. 4 Boise State, who is now tied with former Texas pivot Colt McCoy for an NCAA record 45 victories. The other new candidate is Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, who has led his team to No. 3 in the BCS Standings … Of other Heisman hopefuls: Baylor’s RG3 is the nation’s top-rated QB, after completing 78% of his passes; Richardson has rumbled for nearly 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns for unbeaten No. 2 Alabama; and Houston’s Keenam is 801 yards shy of breaking the NCAA’s all-time passing yardage leader … In the USA Today Heisman Watch, Luck received six of 10 first-place votes and has 45 points overall. Next is Richardson at 31 points. Then, it’s Moore in third with three first-place votes and 27 points.

FOURTH & GOAL

The nation’s top two teams, No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama, are idle this week to prepare for next week’s mega-showdown in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Triple wow! … Stunning loss by then No. 3 Oklahoma to Texas Tech last week, you say? Not really. Rivalry game, and Texas Tech puts up the points. OK, so it was somewhat surprising. And if you went with my picks, I called Tech to keep it close. But hopefully, that’s the only one of my predictions you latched onto, because I was a paltry 1-of-4 to drop to 20-12 on the season.

todd.saelhof@sunmedia.ca


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