Down second half of the season for Teddy Bridgewater may be overblown

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Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater entered the 2013 season as one of the top Heisman Trophy candidates but ever since the Cardinals were upset by UCF and knocked out of the BCS championship picture, regardless of how much of a shot they had to start with, it seems as though the college football world has sort of forgotten about Bridgewater. Bridgewater is still widely considered to be a potential top draft pick, if he does indeed decide to turn pro and skip on his final year at Louisville, so he has not exactly fallen off the map.

As far as the college football world is concerned, Bridgewater has been overlooked in the second half of the season.

He was not among the six players invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation. The American Athletic Conference gave UCF quarterback Blake Bortles the nod as the conference’s offensive player of the year and all-conference first team despite Bridgewater having better number sin a variety of passing categories and actually turning in a better statistical game in their head-to-head match-up.

Some seem to think Bridgewater struggled down the stretch of the regular season because he failed to throw a 300-yard game. At a glance I felt that way as well. Watching Bridgewater in the second half of the season you saw some throws he would have liked to have back for sure, but he also had a handful of plays that show why he is so attractive to NFL scouts. The UConn game may have been the worst game of the year for Bridgewater, as he completed just 56.8 percent of his passes and he was intercepted once, but he led the team to victory with 288 yards. For the season though, Bridgewater was successful inside the red zone. Bridgewater only completed 55.6 percent of his passes inside the 20-yard line, but he tossed 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions. That prove he is smart with the football and avoids making mistakes at the worst possible time, and that means something at the next level as well.

Bridgewater’s completion percentage dipped about 11 points in November, but a completion percentage 64.7 in November was just three points lower than Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston at Florida State and was higher than Heisman finalists AJ McCarron of Alabama and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M. As has always been the case for Bridgewater, and Louisville, being guilty by association has been the biggest detriment when it comes to appreciating what has gone right. Because Bridgewater and Louisville played a schedule without many challenges, our perception of the numbers can be skewed at times.

Bridgewater may be playing his final game as a Louisville Cardinal today against Miami. I encourage you all to just sit back, relax and enjoy it while you can.

Florida’s statement on Jim McElwain’s death-threat claim is interesting, to say the least

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Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s something.  Regardless, it’s something that bears watching.

Losers of two in a row and off to a 3-3 start to the season,  Florida has underperformed and underwhelmed to say the least.  So much so, in fact, that head coach Jim McElwain indicated Monday that he, his family, his coaching staff and players have been subjected to death threats by unknown individuals.

The head coach went into no detail publicly regarding the nature of the threats.  Apparently, it was the same privately when discussing the situation with his employer.

OK then.

Again, it could be in the same neighborhood as naked shark humping — nothing. Bears watching, though, as one very outspoken member of the Florida media is very much already doing publicly about a situation that was apparently reported to the media before it was reported to the police or even the university.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

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Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

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Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.

Report: Sam Darnold expected to return to USC in 2018

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Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.

One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.

While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.

On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.

Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.