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Football preview: Kicker Williamson returns with a mature mindset; Montgomery, Terrell poised to dazzle in return game

It wasn’t supposed to end that way. With the Fiesta Bowl tied 38-38 in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, a surgical Andrew Luck had just engineered what appeared to be the game-winning drive against a helplessly baffled Oklahoma State defense. Three seconds left in regulation and it couldn’t have been scripted better. Stanford placekicker Jordan Williamson lined up for a 35-yard field goal attempt in front of almost 14 million viewers, on the brink of vaulting the Cardinal to its second consecutive BCS bowl victory.

Undrafted & Underrated: Stanford WR Griff Whalen works to join his best friend, Andrew Luck, on the Colts’ roster

A shortened version of this story appeared in The New York Times’ college sports blog The Quad and in The Daily print edition today.

“With the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford…”

Luck strides across the Radio City Music Hall stage in a dark-blue suit and a tie with lilac and lavender stripes, his normally shaggy hair groomed for the occasion. He bear-hugs the league commissioner and flashes a goofy smile for the rows of cameras.
Back at Stanford, in the Rains apartment he shares with Luck, Griff Whalen is also beaming. Staring at the 36-inch TV in the corner of their living room, he watches as the kid from Houston that he’s known since freshman year, talks to Deion Sanders on ESPN.

Beyda: Tight end Levine Toilolo may be the next breakout player

As the spring sport season winds down, it’s time for the sports sides of our brains to start drifting back to their cherished equilibrium: college football. So with midterms and no Sharks hockey to distract me (five more months and counting…) I found myself sifting through YouTube for the last few years of Cardinal football highlights. Let me rephrase that—I found myself sifting through YouTube for the last few years of Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck highlights.

Beyda: New college football playoff system may be misguided

The college sports powers-that-be have spoken, and they have decided that a single Final Four in late March and early April just isn’t enough. That’s why they’re adding another one in the first week of January. After the commissioners of the 11 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences (and separatist Notre Dame’s athletics director) met last week to decide what will become of the BCS, they finally determined to install a four-team playoff in college football. It’s unclear if the current BCS ranking system will be used to select the top four teams, but by 2014, we’re going to have a playoff, whether you like it or not.