Athlon Sports recently released a conference-by-conference list of Heisman Trophy candidates as well as a list of the top 25 Heisman candidates in all of college football. University of Louisville signal caller Teddy Bridgewater was named the top candidate in the Big East and the second name listed outside the top 25 list. Here is what Athlon had to say about him:
1. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (SO) The true freshman built his confidence week upon week and now enters his second year as the top Heisman contender in the league. He trailed only Geno Smith in completion percentage last year (64.5%) and posted the Big East’s No. 2 passer efficiency (132.44) mark. Most importantly, he has added bulk and strength to his frame after playing his best ball down the stretch. He posted a career high 274 yards in the bowl loss and chucked five touchdowns in the final two games.
It should be considered an honor for Bridgewater to have his name listed just outside of the top 25 overall candidates, but one name ahead of him, coming in at #25, is very odd. That name is Barret Jones, offensive lineman for Oklahoma. This is not a knock on Jones, last year’s Outland Trophy winner (given to the nation’s top lineman), who is an outstanding player, but he is also an offensive lineman. I am not suggesting that Bridgewater should be higher on the list, but putting an offensive lineman anywhere on the list is downright ridiculous. As Athlon mentions, the only time since 1950 a non-offensive skill player has won the Heisman was in 1997 when Michigan defensive back Charles Woodson won it (over some guy named Peyton Manning). Will Stein has a better chance of cracking the starting offensive line rotation than an offensive lineman does of winning the Heisman. It may happen one day (anything is possible), but not any time soon. While Bridgewater may not be a serious Heisman candidate, he (and pretty much all others on the list) have a better chance than an offensive lineman.
Having said that, the chances of Bridgewater contending for the Heisman this season are highly unlikely. It is not that he is not skilled enough to do so (he is), and “Teddy Heisman” has a nice ring to it, but this year’s Big East without West Virginia cannot compare with any of the Big 6 conferences (maybe the ACC, but even that is pushing it), and the Heisman candidates from conferences like the SEC and Big 12 are going to have a leg up on all other candidates.
Yet, unlikely as it is, if any player in the Big East has a shot at the Heisman, it is Bridgewater. After seeing what we saw last season in Bridgewater as a freshman, and his superb performance in the spring game, the young man has the talent, poise, ability and above all else, quarterback IQ to be an elite QB in any conference. He just has the “it” factor. Despite the unlikelihood of Teddy heading to New York for the Heisman ceremony (this year at least), he is definitely set to do big things at U of L and may have to settle for a Big East Offensive Player of the Year award, a Big East championship, and a trip to the Orange Bowl. He will probably be okay with that. Football season cannot get here soon enough.