The conference championships will take place later in the week, but tonight we will find out one team that will appear in a BCS bowl. Louisville will travel to High Point Solutions Stadium to play Rutgers at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN in a game that will determine who will play in the BCS Orange Bowl.
Both teams enter the contest with a 9-2 record and appear to be the cream of the crop in the unstable Big East. Still, while both teams have proven to be the best in the conference, it is Louisville that is the best bet to give college football fans a solid bowl matchup.
The winner of this game will play the winner of the ACC Championship, which is more than likely going to be the Florida State Seminoles. The Cardinals have the offense and defense to at least make things competitive in that matchup.
Let's be honest, you wouldn't pick either one of these teams against a powerhouse program such as Florida State, but you would at least like to see some type of firepower to make the game interesting.
Give us some bang for our buck and prevent a blowout from taking place in a major bowl game.
It doesn't get much better in the Big East than Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The sophomore signal-caller is completing nearly 69 percent of his passes for over 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns. He is about as accurate as you can get with a football and really puts those stereotypes to shame about mobile quarterbacks not being able to complete passes consistently.
He is one of the few players in this conference that can compete at the highest level under the bright lights.
Meanwhile, Rutgers is a team that fails to produce on the offensive side of the ball. Ranked 95th in the country in scoring offense, Rutgers has only scored 30 or more points twice all season long. Quarterback Gary Nova is a turnover machine (22 interceptions in two years) and the overall offense is only scoring 70 percent of the time in the red zone (last place in the Big East).
Defensively, the Scarlet Knights are about as good as it gets, allowing only 317 yards per game and less than a 37 percent conversion rate on third down. However, Louisville can play its fair share of defense as well, ranked 44th in the country in points allowed and breaking up 37 passes.
With head coach Charlie Strong running the program, the team has picked up his tough-nosed personality and displayed several solid performances throughout the year.
This team is as balanced as you will find in the Big East.
The Cardinals go as far as Bridgewater carries them, which is good, because he is a future star in the making. Without a doubt, he is the best player in this conference and can simply take over a game when healthy. We have all witnessed what can happen in a bowl game when a team is led by a talented signal-caller, and he is just that.
He is capable of putting on a show—and not just in this game. He could make all the difference in the world against a quality opponent in a BCS bowl.
Forget about Rutgers, Northern Illinois or Kent State.
If you are looking for a team that would provide a stiff test, look no further than Louisville.
Note: All stats come from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.