2013 was supposed to be the year of Teddy Bridgewater and the Louisville Cardinals. Riding the momentum of their dominant upset of the Florida Gators in the Allstate Sugar Bowl last year, Louisville looked poised for perfection. They had arguably the top quarterback in the country, Teddy Bridgewater, who was destined to win the Heisman Trophy before being selected No. 1 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft along with a strong cast of returning starters with a schedule that was so soft Charlie Strong would put his head on it at night to fall asleep.
But after just one slip-up at home in a 38-35 loss to the Central Florida Knights, Louisville lost everything that they were playing for this season. They lost control of the AAC title race, lost their spot in the BCS National Championship conversation (which was tenuous to begin with), and Bridgewater has seemingly fallen off the map in the Heisman conversation. The Cardinals are still an excellent team at 9-1 on the season, but they are quite possibly the most anonymous nine-win team in the entire country.
And that’s a shame because Louisville is doing a lot of good things this season on the field. They have the No. 2 scoring defense in the country, allowing just 10.8 points per game, and the No. 2 total defense, giving up just 238.8 yards per game. Teddy Bridgewater is still one of the premier quarterback talents in the country, ranking No. 10 in yards per game (304.8), No. 4 in quarterback rating (177.42), and is tied for No. 4 in completion percentage (70.9). On the season, he’s thrown for 24 touchdowns (tied for ninth-best in college football) to just three interceptions.
All of those sparkly statistics, however, aren’t getting Louisville or Bridgewater all that much attention. That’s because they are doing it against a schedule that the Cardinals were expected to be perfect against. Anything short of an undefeated season was determined to be a disappointment before the season started and they disappointed when they fell to UCF. Now, they’ll have to likely settle for second place in the AAC and miss out on a big time bowl game.
Last season, the Cardinals went to the BCS by virtue of a tie-breaker over the Cincinnati Bearcats, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, and Syracuse Orange. Louisville went to the Sugar Bowl while the rest went to the Belk Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, and New Era Pinstripe Bowl respectively. Look for the Cardinals to be heading to a similar lower-tier bowl game this December providing a forgettable conclusion to the lost 2013 season of Louisville and Teddy Bridgewater.