There was no required classroom attendance at the University of Louisville on Sunday, but Teddy Bridgewater used the day to go to the head of one elite class anyway.
Bridgewater might have taken an early lead in the race for the Heisman Trophy, throwing five touchdown passes in a 49-7 win over visiting Ohio. Whatever competitiveness was taken out of the game early as Bridgewater tied a career high with those five touchdowns. He also completed 23-of-28 passes for 355 yards.
Bridgewater might have been near the head of the class before the season started, merely based on his performance last year when he led the Cardinals to a win over then No. 4 Florida for the Sugar Bowl championship, but he had a more impressive first game this weekend than last year’s winner, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, or even Tajh Boyd of Clemson.
While Ohio was from the non-BCS-qualifying Mid-American Conference, the Bobcats did come into the game with some impressive credentials. They won at Penn State last year, and Penn State led the Leaders Division of the Big 10 for most of last season. The Bobcats also finished 9-4, with a 45-14 win in a bowl game.
So what Bridgewater did for the clear American Athletic Conference favorites was impressive. The next couple of games are against lightly-regarded in-state foes, Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky, so there are opportunities for Bridgewater to compile enough stats for him to create some separation between the other hopefuls.
Then there is the matter of Louisville’s schedule in its entirety. The Cardinals are likely to be favored in all 11 of their remaining games which would put them in a position to at least get into a BCS bowl again and quite possibly compete for a national championship.
If that happens, the Heisman Trophy race could very well be a wire-to-wire runaway for Bridgewater.