The Big East should start 2013 with a legitimate Heisman contender: Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Those who have followed the Big East blog over the past year know that Matt Fortuna and I had Bridgewater on Heisman watch for the 2012 season. We got to see him first-hand every weekend. There were plenty of folks who did not. But that all changed in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, when his performance got talking heads, well, talking.
Bridgewater essentially did what he wanted against what was supposed to be one of the best defenses in the country. That performance was about what we have seen out of him all year, but because he did it on a national stage against the No. 3 team, it is fair to say Bridgewater had a breakthrough moment. And that is what he needed to get people to start paying attention in 2013.
As I wrote earlier this month, his 2013 Heisman campaign began with that game. Now we will see whether he will be truly considered as the year goes on and he faces competition that is not as tough as the other would-be contenders out there. I think it is going to take the Cardinals going undefeated and Bridgewater improving on already terrific numbers to get an invitation to New York.
Here are two stats I am going to be watching from him for 2013: Can he reach 4,000 yards passing, and he can complete 70 percent of his passes? In 2012, Bridgewater threw for 3,718 yards and completed 68.5 percent of his passes.
Coach Charlie Strong preaches balance, and the Cardinals should have a healthy Senorise Perry back in the lineup, so that may prevent Bridgewater from reaching 4,000 yards. But given the talent around him at receiver and how close he came this year, he may very well have a shot.