<
>

How do Luck, DeCastro stack up?

12/7/2011

Tonight, two Stanford players will hope to hear their names called when "The Home Depot College Football Awards Show" airs at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Quarterback Andrew Luck is up for a pair of awards -- the Maxwell award, given to the best all-around player -- and the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award (pretty self explanatory).

Offensive lineman David DeCastro is up for the Outland Trophy, given to college football's top interior lineman.

Thought it would be fun to compare the finalists and see what sort of chances Stanford's players have.

MAXWELL AWARD

  • Finalists: Luck, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore and Alabama running back Trent Richardson.

  • Scouting the field: Apples and oranges. Hard to compare quarterbacks and running backs. Moore gets labeled as a system or spread quarterback, but Boise was almost 50-50 in run vs. pass attempts. Moore attempted 405 passes to Luck's 373. Richardson is arguably the best running back in the country.

  • Why Luck will win: Since the award goes to the best all-around player, you start by looking at what that player does "all-around." Luck does it all, pass, run, play calling, scrambling, reading defenses, efficient in the red zone, arm strength etc. etc. etc. Nothing you haven't heard before.

  • Why he won't: Sometimes these awards become career achievements -- and it's hard to argue with what Moore has done over a sensational career. Voting closed before the BCS games were announced, but those who thought Boise would get stiffed (which they did) might also throw Moore a make-up call. If you're a voter and a fan of running back play, tough to argue with Richardson, or his 20 touchdowns/6 yards per carry average.

DAVEY O'BRIEN NATIONAL QUARTERBACK AWARD

  • Finalists: Luck, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, Houston quarterback Case Keenum.

  • Scouting the field: Three very different players. Keenum has the gaudy numbers. Griffin has the "wow" factor and Luck is the prototypical NFL quarterback.

  • Why Luck will win: When you evaluate simply on quarterback skills, it's tough to say anyone in the country is a more complete quarterback than Luck.

  • Why he won't: Griffin is red-hot right now. His stock has never been higher. Keenum has the video-game stats voters love.

OUTLAND TROPHY

  • Finalists: DeCastro, Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones, Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still.

  • Scouting the field: It's a good, talented crop with no clear front-runner. All three play their respective positions well (in Jones' case, four different positions). A convincing argument can be made for all three. DeCastro and Jones headline highly-ranked running attacks and Still is the most disruptive defensive tackle in college football.

  • Why DeCastro will win: Considered the most NFL-ready run blocker in the nation, DeCastro has the athleticism to pull to either side, the muscle to bulldoze straight ahead and the quick hands and feet to pass block. He's the most complete player of the group. Stanford is also sixth nationally in sacks allowed while Alabama is 28th.

  • Why he won't: The award has gone back and forth between offense and defense the past four years (Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi won last year). The recent trend says a defensive player wins it this year. Plus, Still has stats to draw upon (55 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 15 solo tackles for a loss) whereas the offensive players predominantly rely on their running backs' stats. Though if it goes to Jones, it will be because Richardson is a far-more notable running back than Stepfan Taylor and the group of three other backs he platoons with. Alabama's running attack ranks 15th nationally (219.8 YPG). Stanford is 22nd (207.9 YPG). As noted, Jones is extremely versatile, having played both tackle spots, left guard and center this season, though his primary spot is left tackle.