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Let’s Pump the Brakes on all the Love-McCaffrey Comparisons

2017 US College Football Sydney Cup Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Let’s not downplay Love’s performance this past weekend in Sydney: He finished with 180 yards rushing and one touchdown in Stanford’s blowout to Rice, 62-7. He looked very good in his first appearance for the year over a clearly outmatched Rice. For this game, Love was “the man”. However, in every article you’ve come across all during the offseason and since this win, we’ve already seen way too many phrases like, “ Love can replace McCaffrey” and “it looks like Stanford has found its replacement for McCaffrey with Love”. Google, “Bryce Love” and pick an article then hit “Ctrl + F” and start typing in “McCaffrey” and you’ll see his name show up at least once in almost every article you read.

We get it. Of course McCaffrey will go down as one of Stanford’s best players ever for the Cardinal and he should. He deserved a lot of credit for not only helping to win games, but ultimately do what all major programs need to do: draw exposure to Stanford not only as a football program but as the excellent academic institution that it is even if you don’t come to Palo Alto to play a sport. He was, like all of Stanford’s student-athletes are, excellent role models, fantastic students, innovative in how they approach their respective sports and very hard working.

But in the sports world, we love to compare great players to other great players and maybe, that doesn’t always feel so great to players. They want to have the same success I’m sure but they are different from their predecessors. Lebron to Kobe, Kobe to Jordan, (well, Kobe did try to mimic Jordan in almost every way, but that’s another story),Gerald McCoy to Warren Sapp, Serena to Steffi Graf, the list goes on. Here’s a video of Sam Dekker who talked about how he’s always compared to other white players, and why do people do that?

We love to see how players match up with each other and to some respects, yes it’s fun and it’s natural, but if Love doesn’t get the numbers or break the records that McCaffrey did, does that mean he’s a failure? Does that mean that we don’t have as good as a team as we had back in ‘15 or ‘16?

In a quote from coach Shaw he said, “It will happen for (Love) in a similar way (as Hogan), because we aren’t going to force him to be Christian McCaffrey. We’re just going to let him be who he is”. You can find the entire story here.

Think about the amount of pressure any player has on the field to try and fill the shoes of the guy or girl who played that position. If every time you speak to someone or get on twitter you see your name next to a player who’s no longer here and comparing yourself to them over and over, wouldn’t that annoy you? Would you tell your second child that they have fill the shoes of your first born child or to try and do the things that their older sibling did correctly? How unfair would that be to your second kid and how would you think that would make them feel?

Of course Love wants to be successful and in all likelihood, wants to surpass and exceed expectations that have been set by McCaffrey, but let the kid play and develop into his own player and have his own style. We’ve seen a very small sampling of how great this kid can be and as we know and things change from year to year. As much as we are awaiting to still see how Love can grow and develop as a star player, we’re doing the same for our offensive line, doing the same for Chryst, and for every other player on the team. I’m sure Love is a nice kid but he’s got to be sick of, already hearing how he’s compared to McCaffrey and we’re only one game in! We don’t even have enough stats to compare the two just yet!

So, before we see anymore articles comparing the two players, keep in mind that great players need time to make their own way. It’s very early in the season and people want someone to fill the “void” that McCaffrey took on. However, as the weeks go on, lets not put too much pressure on one guy from another in such a short amount of time.

And who knows, maybe Love will have a career that surpasses McCaffrey- only time will tell.