Earlier today, I had the chance to chat with 1984 Heisman Trophy winner and broadcaster Doug Flutie, who is promoting the Capital One Cup as a member of the award's Board of Advisors. Stanford is in good position to repeat as Women's Cup Champions, and poised to move up the Men's Cup standings, when the final college football coaches' poll is released. The main change to the award in its second year is that all Division I sports are now included in the standings. That's good news for the Cardinal.
Not surprisingly, we spent most of our time discussing one of the main reasons for Stanford's forthcoming boost in the Men's Cup race -- Andrew Luck. Flutie was plenty familiar with him.
"We had a lot of games on Versus, which is now the NBC Sports Network, so I got to watch him all year long," he said of Luck. "He's a technician. He looks like an NFL quarterback, making those checks at the line. I think the one thing that people sell him short on is his athleticism. He throws the ball on the move as well as anybody."
I asked Flutie about the emphasis that David Shaw placed on Luck's ability to call plays at the line of scrimmage and why he thought Luck fell shrot in the Heisman race.
"It’s what sets him apart from other quarterbacks," Flutie said. "It’s what sets Tom Brady and Peyton Manning apart, even a Drew Brees. Directing the offense, avoiding the negative plays. ... He’s head and shoulders above the pack to be NFL-ready because of that. What I think hurt him for the Heisman was that he didn’t have the big-time, flashy receivers, guys catching 80-yard touchdown passes. If he had a [Justin] Blackmon, a [Robert] Woods from USC, a Michael Floyd from Notre Dame, maybe it would have been different."
(I didn't find out who Flutie voted for, but at the end of the season he thought Trent Richardson would win.)
As for Luck's NFL future, Flutie indicated that he could see Manning and Luck co-existing in Indianapolis. "I don't think Peyton will be threatened and there are things that he could teach him," Flutie said. One of those things, according to Flutie, is learning to change the checks he makes, including hand signals, from week to week.
Finally, we talked a little bit about tonight's game. Flutie isn't wild about the rematch, but he concedes that these are the two best teams in the country. He's picking LSU because he expects the game to hinge on one big play and he likes the athleticism that the Tigers have in the secondary and at quarterback.