Louisville star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater basically needed to be perfect against Rutgers on Thursday to continue to be in the Heisman discussion.
On Thursday against Rutgers, he was not perfect.
It may seem unfair, but the main reason Bridgewater trailed several players in Heisman rankings across the nation before Thursday's game was because of his quality of competition.
Before Thursday, Bridgewater and the 5-0 Cardinals had faced Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky, Florida International and Temple. And although Louisville had absolutely pummeled these teams, these were not teams that were taken seriously, and that's what matters.
TeamRankings.com ranked Louisville's strength of schedule 69th in the country before Thursday's game.
It's one of the reasons why quarterbacks like Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Clemson's Tajh Boyd and Florida State's Jameis Winston were ranked ahead of Bridgewater by ESPN.com and CBSSports.com. This was despite the junior ranking fourth in the country in yards per pass attempt and third in quarterback rating, per CFBStats.com.
Heck, CBSSports.com even had Georgia's Aaron Murray ahead of Bridgewater.
As Jay Mohr tweeted:
Waiting for Teddy Bridgewater to pour gasoline on this Rutgers fire…. You want a Heisman, 5 touchdowns or nothing— Jay Mohr (@jaymohr37) October 11, 2013
Well, after Thursday's game, Bridgewater will be lucky if he stays in the top five of most Heisman rankings.
Bridgewater wasn't horrible against Rutgers, but he wasn't great, either. He went 21-of-31 for 310 yards and two touchdowns in the 24-10 win, but he also threw a pick and lost a fumble.
Will Teddy Bridgewater win the Heisman this season?
His fumble came at a crucial time, in a crucial area of the field.
After Rutgers had kicked a field goal to get within one possession (17-10) early in the fourth quarter, Bridgewater drove the Cardinals down the field to the Scarlet Knights' 5-yard line, only to cough up the pigskin on the ensuing play.
It kept Rutgers' hopes alive.
In fact, if Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova hadn't have been so horrible on Thursday (19-of-36, 202 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions), Rutgers may have upset Louisville. That's after the Scarlet Knights allowed 52 points to SMU just five days earlier.
BCS Guru was blunt about Bridgewater's Heisman chances and Louisville's national championship hopes:
Take this to the bank: Bridgewater will not win the Heisman. Louisville will not play for BCS title. Neither is unjust.— BCS Guru (@BCSGuru) October 11, 2013
Bridgewater may still become the top quarterback selected in the 2014 NFL draft. But if he expects to win the Heisman in his junior year at Louisville, he can forget about it.