ESPN Big East blogger Andrea Adelson has been counting down the top 25 players in the Big East as we head into the season’s opening week and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater checks in at #5 today. Hard to argue with the pick as Bridgewater certainly has the ability and hype behind him, however, we all still need to see it on the field consistently for an entire year. If he has the type of season that many are predicting, he’ll likely end the season atop this list – which is most important. Talk is cheap, so a strong 10-win season, conference championship and return trip to the Orange Bowl will solidify Bridgewater as one of the nation’s elite. Right now we’ll just have to settle for top-5 in the conference.
No. 5 Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Making the case: I am sure there are a few of you out there who believe Bridgewater should be even higher on this list. He very well could be when the season ends. But for right now, I have a few questions that leave him here in the No. 5 spot. There is no question he has the potential to be the best player in the Big East, given what we saw last season. Bridgewater was the easy pick to win Big East newcomer of the year honors after taking over the starting job in Week 4 and throwing for 2,129 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Coaches have praised his maturity and his knowledge of the offense. He acts and plays like a veteran, not somebody who has only been around for a year. Bridgewater also has bulked up, which should help him better withstand some of the hits a scrambling quarterback can take. Now where does he take the next step? He has to be a better decision-maker, as his 12 interceptions in 2011 show. He took some sacks last season where he should have thrown the ball away instead. He looked harried in the bowl game when his protection broke down.
There are a few new elements to the offense that are going to provide a test, most specifically the installation of some hurry-up. He needs playmakers at receiver and running back to emerge, so the entire offense is not squarely on his shoulders. He also needs his offensive line to be better than it was a season ago. But the expectation is there for him to have a huge season. Bridgewater is on the watch lists for the Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback) and Maxwell Award (best overall player) and is easily one of the most talked about players in the league going into the season.