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.
After a successful turnaround campaign in 2017, North Texas is preparing to sweeten the deal for head coach Seth Littrell.
The Denton Record-Chronicle reports that the school is in the process of finalizing a new contract for both Littrell and athletic director Wren Baker, with regents approving moving forward in the process last month. While final numbers and details have not been released, the expectation is that both will get a raise and likely have increased buyouts after the coach and athletic director were mentioned in connection to bigger jobs this offseason.
Littrell took over a program two years ago that was coming off a 1-11 record and has turned things around to the point where the team has made back-to-back bowl games in his first two seasons in Denton. The Mean Green won the CUSA West division in 2017 and wrapped up the year with nine wins for the first time since 2013 — including just the fourth winning record for UNT in 15 seasons.
The former Oklahoma running back and Mike Leach assistant was the highest paid head coach in Conference USA according to USA Today‘s salary database and he is expected to get a further raise in the new deal that should take Littrell over the $1 million mark for annual salary. Baker arrived in Denton the year after the head coach and has helped raise significant sums to upgrade facilities at North Texas during his short tenure so far.
The Mean Green have already begun spring football practices and will host their annual spring game on March 30th.
To say that Tyree Owens has had an up-and-down — mostly down — collegiate career would be a significant understatement.
Originally a West Virginia signee, Owens was one of three Mountaineer football players stabbed in an off-field accident in September of 2015… only to be one of three WVU football players dismissed from the program very shortly thereafter for violating unspecified team rules.
After one season at a junior college, the defensive lineman transferred to East Carolina. After one season at ECU, Owens is out again as the American Athletic Conference school announced that the redshirt junior “has also been removed from the roster as a result of an indefinite suspension related to the team’s academic policy.”
Last season, Owens started three of the 10 games in which he played, with all of those starts coming at defensive tackle. His 3.5 tackles for loss were fourth on the team, while his three quarterback hits were second on the Pirates. Two of those tackles for loss came against… WVU, of course.
A three-star member of WVU’s 2014 recruiting class, Owens was rated as the No. 49 strongside defensive end in the country. He took a redshirt as a true freshman for the Mountaineers.
Owens, now at a Mississippi junior college, originally committed to Texas A&M in October of 2016 before decommitting nearly three months later and ultimately signing with ECU in mid-December of that same year.
Those of a certain age may look back on going to grade school and think fondly on those rare days where the regular teacher was out and a substitute filled in. For many around the country, that often meant watching a movie or two for class instead of doing, well… actual work.
If you happen to be a kindergarten student at James M. Brown Elementary School in Walhalla, South Carolina though, having a substitute teacher for class has been taking on a whole different meaning the past few weeks. That’s because 300-pound Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins has been moonlighting as a sub and trying to corral little kids on a much gentler scale than he corrals quarterbacks on Saturdays in the fall.
“It was fun, but took a lot out of me,” Wilkins told ESPN earlier this week. “I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Kindergarten Cop’ with all those little kids. Talk about energy, but it was a real cool experience.”
Perhaps the most accurate line from Chris Low’s excellent story on Wilkins’ substitute duties came by one young pupil who muttered, ‘That’s one big mister.’ The senior All-American is only getting $80 for a day’s worth of work with the kids but seeing the massive defensive tackle walk into a room is probably as priceless for Wilkins as it is for those at the school.
How much is an undefeated season worth for a program? If you ask the most recent team to accomplish the feat, the answer is a lot of dough. Like nine figures worth.
According to a release by UCF, the school commissioned a report compiled by Joyce Julius & Associates on just how much value they got from their football team’s perfect season that was capped off with an AAC conference title and a Peach Bowl victory over Auburn:
When combining national television game broadcasts, television news coverage, print media, Internet news and social media, the value of the exposure for UCF Football from Nov. 17, 2017-Jan. 31, 2018 was $171,079,417.47. Combined, the entirety of the 2017 UCF Football season’s exposure was valued at well over $200 million.
Further more, the study found roughly 160,000 total social media posts “generated nearly 655 million impressions with an estimated exposure value of $17,696,403.81. Of the 160,792 posts the study found, over 138,000 of them were on Twitter.” No word how many of those tweets were fans ridiculing the school for claiming a national title or just angry Alabama supporters yelling back about the sport’s true champion last season.
There’s no doubt that the Knights’ story and resulting publicity from claiming to be “national champions” was worth plenty to the school, but it seems like a bit of fuzzy math to claim all of $200 million worth of exposure even with new state license plates and trips to Disney World. One wonders if UCF can claim low nine figures from a “championship” run you’ve got to think Nick Saban’s actual title-winning Alabama team might be able lay claim to more than double that amount for winning the College Football Playoff after all.