Oregon’s defense shouldn’t pose much of a challenge to Andrew Luck but, given the Stanford Cardinal’s weak schedule, this is the one game of the regular season where all eyes will be on him.
Luck’s performance on Saturday night won’t shape the opinions of scouts, but it will impact public perception which can, on occasion, alter a player’s draft stock.
Players at the top of the draft board in November almost always start to fall once the draft process begins as people start looking for any reason to question their ability. Inevitably there will be some who over-think their evaluation of Luck (Phil Simms, I’m looking at you) and Luck can help himself by not giving them any reason to question his ability.
If Luck chokes in the biggest game Stanford has played in years (possibly ever) he will gain a reputation and some will claim that Oregon’s defense poked holes in his game.
This is a tough situation for Luck because he cannot exceed expectations. He either meets them, or he fails – at least in the eyes of the general public.
No matter what happens on Saturday, or over the course of the next five months, Luck will be at the top of my draft board, but a poor performance against the Ducks will certainly raise doubts in the minds of some.