Was Orange Bowl final game for Harbaugh and Luck at Stanford?

Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh (above) celebrates with players including quarterback Andrew Luck (R) after they defeated Virginia Tech in the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl NCAA football game in Miami, January 3, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Here are three quick-hit observations from Stanford’s 40-12 rout of Virginia Tech in the 2011 Orange Bowl.

1. Will this be Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck’s final hurrah at Stanford?
If it was, they certainly went out with a bang. Luck completed 18-of-23 passes for 287 yards with four touchdowns and one interception in the win, while Harbaugh left no doubt in anyone’s mind that he can coach in big games, small games or sandlot games. If Luck, a redshirt sophomore, were to declare for the NFL draft he would be the No. 1 pick in April. The Panthers aren’t going to pass on taking a quarterback, but Luck said last week that he’s leaning towards staying for his junior year. Harbaugh, on the other hand, is probably moving on. He’s gone as far as he can go at Stanford and if he wants to coach his alma mater, I doubt Michigan would think twice about telling Rich Rodriguez to shove off in order to make room for him. If Harbaugh wants to go to the NFL, the 49ers have already expressed interest and I’m sure the Panthers will/have as well. Harbaugh says he won’t rush any decision, but I’m sure one is forthcoming.

2. What a bad night for the entire Virginia Tech program.
The Hokies kicked a field goal right before halftime to cut Stanford’s lead down to 13-12 and then they forgot to come out for the second half. Their offense couldn’t sustain drives, their defense couldn’t limit the big plays and after the Cardinal went up by two touchdowns late in the third quarter, VA Tech completely checked out mentally (even though there was still a quarter to go). Tyrod Taylor made a couple of great plays with his arm and legs, but struggled keeping drives alive because he was always in third-and-long thanks to his running game (or lack thereof). Give credit to Stanford’s defense – they came to play.

3. You’re right BCS, this is way better than a playoff.
Three BCS bowl games are in the books and two of them were blowouts. The TCU-Wisconsin game had an exciting finish, but the Oklahoma-UConn game was a dud (as expected) and the second half of the Orange Bowl was like watching Stanford scrimmage against its scout team. The BCS obviously can’t control what happens after the opening kickoff, but they hype these five games as if they’re the best five games fans will see all year and so far they’ve been lousy. The title game and the Sugar Bowl can still save the action but the BCS can’t look anyone in the eye and say this is better than a playoff. Maybe VA Tech and UConn would have been blown out in a playoff game too, but at least Stanford and Oklahoma would be moving on to the next round. At least we’d still have more football to enjoy instead of: Stanford 40, Virginia Tech 12 – hey, thanks for coming out!

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Orange Bowl Preview: Stanford vs. Virginia Tech

2011 BCS Bowl Previews: BCS National Championship | Fiesta Bowl | Rose Bowl | Orange Bowl | Sugar Bowl

Date: Monday, January 3 2011
Time: 8:30PM ET

Why Watch: The Hokies became the first program in FBS history to win 11 straight games after starting their season 0-2. Frank Beamer’s squad could have folded after losing to FCS school James Madison but instead it rallied, winning 11 in a row in impressive fashion. VA Tech largely flew under the radar while knocking off ACC opponents with relative ease and then crushing Florida State in the conference championship game. Now the Hokies look to put a bow on their season with a win against arguably the best one-loss team in the nation. Stanford had one of the best seasons in school history, losing only to an undefeated Oregon team in early October. They have a Hesiman finalist at quarterback in Andrew Luck, who would probably go No. 1 in the NFL draft if he decides to go pro next season. The Cardinal also employs one of the hottest head coaches in the nation in Jim Harbaugh.

Game Facts Stanford is 9-11-1 all-time in bowl play and will be playing in the postseason for the second consecutive year following an eight-year absence. Oklahoma beat the Cardinal 31-27 in last year’s Sun Bowl. The Hokies will be playing in their fourth BCS bowl in the last seven seasons. They’re 9-14 all-time in bowl games and they’ll be making their 17th straight bowl appearance. Under Beamer, they’re 8-9 in bowl games, which includes 37-14 win over Tennessee in last year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Key Player: Steven Friday, Virginia Tech.
They say the key to any good pass defense is a good pass rush and for Virginia Tech, that starts with Friday. The senior defensive end had 8.5 sacks to lead the Hokies this season. He’s incredibly quick off the edge and if he can harass quarterback Andrew Luck, the Hokies could slow down the possible No. 1 pick and the Cardinal offense.

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2010 College Football Bowl Schedule & Matchups

CORVALLIS, OR - DECEMBER 04: Darron Thomas  of the Oregon Ducks looks to pass against the Oregon State Beavers during the 114th Civil War on December 4, 2010 at the Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Looking for a college football bowl game schedule? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Let The Scores Report be your one-stop shopping experience for all things bowl game schedule.

BCS National Championship: Auburn vs. Oregon, January 10, 8:30PM ET
In the end, there really wasn’t any debate to which teams should play for the national title. The Tigers beat six teams this year that finished in the top 25 of the BCS standings and went 13-0 on the year. Their 56-17 pounding of South Carolina in the SEC championship game left no doubt about their spot atop the BCS rankings. On the other side, Oregon blew out Tennessee earlier in the year, but the Ducks’ made their best statement in a 52-31 thrashing of Stanford. They outscored opponents by nearly 31 points a game this year, with only one team (Cal) coming within single digits of Darron Thomas and Co.

Sugar Bowl: Ohio State vs. Arkansas, Tuesday, January 4, 8:30PM ET
The Buckeyes have another shot to end their woes against the SEC when they take on the Hogs on January 4. If Terrelle Pryor plays as well against Arkansas as he did against Oregon in the Rose Bowl last year, then OSU will be fine. But the Buckeyes will certainly have their hands full with Ryan Mallett and the Hogs’ explosive offense. Arkansas has a chance to win 11 games in a season for the first time since 1977.

Orange Bowl: Stanford vs. Virginia Tech, January 3, 8:30PM ET
This is a great matchup but it’ll be overshadowed by the persisting rumors that Jim Harbaugh will be coaching elsewhere next season. Stanford’s defense will have its hands full with VA Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who took the ACC title game over against Florida State. But the Hokies will need more than Taylor to defeat a Stanford team that is arguably the best one-loss teams in the country. Andrew Luck can further cement his status as the No. 1 pick in April’s draft with a great performance.

Fiesta Bowl: Connecticut vs. Oklahoma, January 1, 8:30PM ET
The Huskies stumbled to a 3-4 record while losing their first two Big East conference games, but they rebounded to go 5-0 down the stretch and their reward is that they get to take on Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. The Sooners will be heavy favorites against Connecticut but remember that Oklahoma is on a five-game BCS bowl losing streak that include three national title losses and a pair of Fiesta Bowls. Statue of Liberty, anyone?

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. TCU, January 1, 5:00PM ET
This may be the most underrated matchup of the five BCS bowl games. Wisconsin won its final seven regular-season games and did so by averaging 48.3 points per contest over that span. They also combined for 201 points in their final three games and now take on a TCU team that owns the top-ranked defense in the country. That’s impressive considering they lost Jerry Hughes and Daryl Washington (their top defenders from a season ago) to the NFL last April.

2010 College Football Bowl Schedule:

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