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2013 NFL Preview: The year of Andrew Luck.

Andrew-Luck

This kid Andrew Luck is incredible. Don’t miss it by silly debates. He’s the best quarterback from last year’s draft class and he is ready to emerge as one of the league’s best signal callers, period. Before you know it, he will be the league’s most valuable player as well.

And honestly, it’s not too far fetched to imagine that happening as soon as 2013.

I agree with you Stampede Blue.

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I got a chance to listen to the Simmons AFC Over-Under podcast with his random-dude-buddy guest.

(Browns fans: when the national concensus is moving as a group in favor of the Browns and is moving as a group against the Steelers, how does that usually work out? .. Exactly.)

Anyhoozles, there were several other parts of their analysis that I found sub-par. But none moreso that the Pythogorean theory of football-predicting applied to the Colts. These two went through maybe five minutes on the Barnwell stat-boy data and out of division match-ups and blah blah blah and in their whole “UNDER 8.5 WINS” speil on the Colts, they forgot to mention one thing.

Andrew Luck.

How on earth does one evaluate the Colts and not account for Andrew Luck? You want to hang your hat on last year’s point differential? REALLY? Gonna do the pythorgoen jive to quantify ‘lucky wins?’ Is the term ‘regress to mean’ supposed to overwhelm?

Here’s Barnwell rationale for calling an team that went 11-5, made playoffs, with a rookie QB a “team in decline:”

Indianapolis Colts
2012 Record:
11-5

Pythagorean Wins: 7.2 (overperformed by 3.8 wins, luckiest in league)
Record in Games Decided by Seven Points or Fewer: 9-1 (0.900, second-best in league)
Strength of Schedule: 0.435 (easiest in league)
Turnover Margin: Minus-12 (26th in league)
2013 Out-of-Division Schedule: AFC West, NFC West, vs. Dolphins, at Bengals
I already wrote about the Colts and their chances of succeeding in 2013 earlier in our season preview; you can read that article here. Let me say this much: The Colts are going to start 2-0. They host the Raiders and the Dolphins during the first two weeks of the 2013 campaign, and those are games that the Colts are exceedingly unlikely to drop to inferior competition. That will get the fans going, but remember that their subsequent six games include trips to San Francisco and Houston and drop-ins from Seattle and Denver. If the Colts are competitive in those four games, we’ll all have a good idea that they’re a team to be reckoned with in 2013.

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Camelot of college football.

Best-Case Scenario: Andrew Luck overcomes all concepts of regression.
Worst-Case Scenario: Andrew Luck is overcome by all concepts of regression.

The Colts are 9-1 in close games and the deduction is that they’re lucky? Not that their rookie QB is extra-special? Oh-kay. Barnwell talks about regression but fails to realize that Andrew Luck has not regressed since he won the starter role as a freshman at Stanford four years ago. His analysis simply ignores that the Colts might just have the best quarterback of the generation.

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Not like you couldn’t see it coming.

When Jim Harbaugh took over the Stanford team in 2007 they were coming off a 1-11 season. Harbaugh’s first year, 4-8; next year 5-7. Enter Luck. Here’s the progression of Stanford’s offense in the Harbaugh years:

  • 2007: 4-8, 19.6 pts/gm (107th in country);
  • 2008: 5-7, 26.2 pts/gm (54th);
  • 2009: Luck wins job as [redshirt] freshman. 8-5, 35.5 pts/gm (12th). Lose Sun Bowl (Luck injured, doesn’t play.);
  • 2010: 12-1, 40.3 pts/gm (9th). Win Orange Bowl 40-12 over VaTech. Ranked 4th;
  • 2011: (Harbaugh leaves, David Shaw now HC.) 11-2, 43.2 pts/gm (7th). Lose Fiesta Bowl. End ranked 7th.

So, it’s not like he didn’t have a .795 winning percentage. Not like he didn’t grow the offense from 26 to 43 points a game. QB rating? 162.8 over three years with 9430 yards and 82 TDs.

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