Teddy Bridgewater Should Be the Heisman Favorite, but Is Anybody Watching?
Teddy Bridgewater absolutely carved apart the Ohio Bobcats secondary on Sunday, and his status as the game's best quarterback isn't likely to change anytime soon.
The outstanding junior showcased his elusiveness, accuracy and arm strength en route to going 23-for-28 for 355 yards and five touchdowns in Louisville's 49-7 victory over Ohio.
If the Heisman Trophy is supposed to go to the most outstanding player in the country, the very early favorite has to be Bridgewater.
There's still a full season to be played. But the ease with which Bridgewater is running his offense makes it hard to deny his enormous talent any longer.
Matt Miller, the lead analyst on the NFL draft for Bleacher Report, likes what he's seeing:
I didn't think this was possible—but Teddy Bridgewater improved over the summer.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) September 1, 2013
The real question now becomes, is anybody else paying attention? Sure, NFL scouts have buckets in front of them as they drool over his performances each week, but the Heisman trophy is, fair or unfair, a lot about hype and having signature moments.
Take a look at the Cardinals' schedule. Unless Bridgewater throws more touchdowns than incompletions or ends the year with 5,000 passing yards, winning the Heisman is going to be a tall task. Where will the signature moment come from?
Kentucky is an SEC team, but it just lost to Western Kentucky. Connecticut, a tough team in the past, lost to Towson. Heck, South Florida got absolutely waxed by McNeese State of Southland Conference fame.
As it stands, the only mildly challenging game appears to be the visit to Cincinnati at the end of the season, but the Bearcats are currently unranked. Because the game is on a Thursday, it should give Bridgewater a chance to impress the nation. But fans aren't nearly as hungry for any old game in December as they are now.
So not only is a signature moment practically impossible against that schedule, but no one will be watching because the results are almost assumed before the game is even played.
Can Teddy Bridgewater be a Heisman favorite despite playing an easy schedule?
That won't be the Cardinals' attitude, and it shouldn't be. If you ask Bridgewater, I'm sure you could tell that all he cares about is his team and winning the next game.
But the talk all offseason has been about how the Cardinals can find a path to the title game with such a weak schedule. That chatter will only get louder as Louisville racks up easy victories.
Fitting a ball into a tight window or throwing on the run 40 yards downfield is impressive regardless of opponent. But defenses like the ones Louisville will face don't provide any sort of consistent challenge, and that's going to hurt Bridgewater's Heisman hopes even though he's only allowed to play the games on the schedule.
The first game of the season always has people curious about players who have seen their legends grow in the offseason. Pat Forde of Yahoo was also impressed by Bridgewater's performance on on Sunday.
And there was an absolutely beautiful fly pattern to Clark for touchdown pass No. 5. Accuracy is tremendous.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) September 1, 2013
Still, it almost seems like Bridgewater's efforts are going unnoticed. And while you'll be able to turn on highlight shows and see plenty of Sunday's action, that could dwindle as the season moves along.
The conference races will start to develop, the BCS rankings will eventually get released and storylines deemed more important than how Louisville fares against a cupcake schedule will get attention and airtime.
If you watch Bridgewater play, it's impossible to be unimpressed. As a quarterback, he has all the tools it takes to dominate the college game and be successful in the NFL.
He's the best quarterback in the country and should be the Heisman Trophy favorite right now, if there is such a thing on September 1.
But is anybody paying attention?
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