The cat has been out of the bag for quite some time now that the Indianapolis Colts will make Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck their No. 1 pick in the 2012 National Football League Draft that begins on prime time TV tomorrow (Thursday) night.

Only Round 1 will take place Thursday in New York City’s Radio City Music Hall beginning at 7 p.m. (CST) on ESPN and the NFL Network. Rounds 2 and 3 of the draft will resume Friday at 6 and Rounds 4-7 will start at 11 a.m. Saturday on the same two television networks.

The Indy football fans had been spoiled rotten for the past decade—until the 2011 season last year—about having the NFL’s best quarterback in Peyton Manning playing right in their own backyard.

Manning was a picture of health and never missed a game until a neck injury shut him down for the entire 2011 NFL season. And without Manning at quarterback last season, the Colts lost game-after-game until they obtained the first overall pick in the 2012 draft by being the league’s lousiest team.

Last month Manning pronounced himself fit and ready to resume his role as the Colts’ field general. But team owner Jim Irsay realized that if Manning remained on the team he was due a $28 million roster bonus, so he was cut loose to find himself another team.

That didn’t take very long for Denver Broncos vice president John Elway to decide Manning would be a better quarterback for his team than Tim Tebow and another transition was made with Tebow strangely winding up on the New York Jets’ roster.

Irsay decided to transform the entire Indianapolis Colts’ roster, starting at quarterback where the unanimous choice became Luck as the No. 1 pick in tomorrow’s draft.

Former Colts’ offensive coordinator Tom Moore has been tossing around glowing compliments about Luck ever since it became apparent Indianapolis would get the first pick in tomorrow’s draft. He visions numerous similarities between Luck and Manning when he first came off the University of Tennessee campus.

Coincidentally, Luck’s dad Oliver asked Moore if he would spend some time in the “classroom” with his son, according to an article in this week’s USA Today Sports Weekly.

The pair worked together for three or four hours a day, five days a week, for three weeks, according to the article.

“Why would the Lucks do this? What did Luck have to gain when he knew he had the No. 1 spot locked up? Nothing really. It was just a chance to get better and to learn from one of the greatest offensive minds the game has known,” the article continues.

“We had old NFL tapes of different teams, and I’d stop the tape and say ‘OK, you’re at the line of scrimmage, you see the defense doing this, this and this. What are you thinking?’ We’d go over the possibilities, what you should do, what you can’t do,” Moore said.

“Maybe we’d do that on a Monday,” Moore continued. “Then on Friday, I’d do it again and stop the tape. ‘OK, what do we want to do here?’ And he’d tell me that we want to do this and this. He had great application and recall from what we studied earlier. It’s instantaneous.”

The article points out the tremendous amount of comparison between Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning. For example, both of their dads were NFL quarterbacks. Both are smart—you don’t graduate on time from Stanford with a high grade-point average in architectural engineering by being a lunkhead.

Both stayed in school an extra year when they were viewed as the No. 1 pick. Both finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Luck and Moore talked about Manning and how he prepared. “It’s been well-chronicled how Peyton and I used to look at tape in the off-season and go over every play,” Moore was quoted in the article.

“I think Andrew is a guy, like Peyton, who can be very critical of himself. One of the big things to me that make the great ones even greater is a willingness to work on things they know they need to work on,” Moore pointed out.

However, the one thing Moore and the Indianapolis coaches can’t fully prepare Luck to face is the pressure he will encounter as being “the guy who replaced Peyton Manning.” He has massive shoes to fill.

Luck operated an NFL offense during his career at Stanford, but not necessarily with NFL talent like he will in the future. No one should expect Luck to be Manning, who’s in the debate for the best quarterback of all time.

But, the article concludes, Moore saw Manning as a 22-year-old fresh out of college and loved what he saw. Now he sees 22-year-old Andrew Luck fresh out of college and he loves what he sees there, too.

KWICKIES…Former Rice Owls pitcher Phil Humber recorded the major league’s first no-hitter of the season Saturday when he pitched a perfect game as the Chicago White Sox blanked the Seattle Mariners 4-0 Saturday. It was the second April perfect game in major league history and the first perfecto since 2010 when Philadelphia’s Ray Halladay and Oakland’s Dallas Braden turned the trick. There now have been 21 perfect games thrown in major league history. During his college career at Rice from 2002-2004 Humber was a three-time All-American, national co-freshman of the year and the winning pitcher for the Owls in the 2003 national title game against Stanford.

Congrats are in order for my son-in-law Brian Smith of Lufkin, who earned a nifty $900 check for the 6.86-pound bass he caught on Sunday’s final day of last weekend’s Big Bass Splash at Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Several sons of pro sports heroes are getting their starts at various college campuses. Trey Griffey, son of Ken Griffey Jr. and grandson of Ken Griffey, is a wide receiver at the University of Arizona, Jerry Rice, Jr. is a wide receiver at UCLA, Nick Montana, son of Joe Montana, is a quarterback at the University of Washington while D. J. Strawberry, son of Darryl Strawberry, is playing basketball overseas.

The Lamar Cardinals baseball team clubbed Nicholls State 12-4 in Thibodaux, La. Sunday to win the rubber game in their best-of-three series and up their record to 8-13 in the Southland Conference and 19-20 for the season. The Cards returned home to play a non-conference game against Prairie View 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Vincent Beck Stadium in Beaumont.

And while on the subject of college baseball, the Baylor Bears swept a three-game series from the Texas Aggies to give them a send-off present to “big-time college sports” with a 7-5 victory Sunday. The win extended the Bears’ current winning streak to 23 straight, including an 18-0 to set a record the Big 12 Conference for consecutive victories in league play.

Two Lamar University wide receivers and two Southeast Texans have high hopes to be drafted by the NFL later this week. Cardinals J.J. Hayes and Marcus Jackson could be called while former Beaumont Kelly and University of Texas defensive lineman Kheeston Randall is expected to be selected in the third or fourth round and East Chambers and Arkansas safety Tramain Thomas should go in a late round or possibly as a free agent.

JUST BETWEEN US…Although the Houston Astros are a disappointing 6-10 in games through Sunday, they have outscored their opponents 71-61, thanks to blowout victories like Sunday’s 12-0 shutout over the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers. If they had only spread out their runs over the first 16 games, they probably would be playing better than .500 baseball. Nevertheless, Houston appears to be toughest in the final game of a series after crushing the Washington Nationals 11-4 in their getaway game Thursday. But the Astros will need to do better than merely winning each series finale and nothing else like they did with the four-game set against Washington and last weekend’s short three-game home series against the Dodgers. On the positive side centerfielder Jordan Schafer, who went four-for-four Sunday including slugging a grand-slam home run, has reached base safely in all 16 games this season, which is one game shy of Craig Biggio’s record of 17 set in 2000. Left fielder J. D. Martinez has reached base safely in all 15 games in which he has played.