Sugar Thoughts: Louisville's Big Statement

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 3, 2013


Sugar Thoughts - Louisville's stunner over Florida puts the spotlight on 2013 ... and 2015.


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By Pete Fiutak

- And this is why the new playoff format is probably going to suck. From the higher-up types who matter, by all indications, if the playoff style that’s going to be implemented two years from now was in place this season, Florida would’ve been in despite – in hindsight – not winning its own division, not winning the SEC championship and not winning its bowl game.

- ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC champions, the two highest-ranked conference champions among the Big East, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt, and one wild-card being the highest-ranked non-champion, or Notre Dame or BYU, left. Eight teams, all deserving.

- Jeff Driskel, I’d like to introduce you to a good friend of mine … an internal clock.

- Oh yes, the Big East team that got into the BCS by the skin of its teeth after coming up with close win after close win just so happened to explode on the big stage. No one gave the team much of a thought, but led by a brilliant star quarterback from Miami, everything clicked as the Big East got a big victory in impressive fashion.

Yes, West Virginia really was fantastic beating Clemson in the 2012 Orange Bowl.

Louisville, your performance might not have been as jaw-dropping as the Mountaineers’ destruction of the Tigers, but in many ways, considering how much respect the Gators were given, this might have been more impressive. Learn from West Virginia. Learn that no matter how hot the start and how impressive the start to the season might be, keeping the focus will be vital and being strong in all areas all of the time will be vital.

Now the spotlight will be on. Teddy Bridgewater will be on all the preseason Heisman lists, and Louisville will be one of the it teams with all the pressure in the world to get back into the BCS and be in the national title chase. There won’t be any excuses with the three toughest games on the 2013 schedule – in order – will be at home against Rutgers, on the road against Cincinnati, and on the road at Kentucky. In all, the Cardinals will be facing a grand total of five bowl teams – Ohio, Rutgers, San Diego State, UCF and at Cincinnati.

Louisville, go 12-0. There’s no excuse not to.

- Louisville won’t go 12-0.

- Get ready for the fight. Louisville will come really, really close to going 12-0, but the schedule will be so awful that the deserve factor will be a huge part of the discussions.

- Teddy Bridgewater, like Geno Smith, will win the Midseason Heisman.

- Unfortunately, the Heisman isn’t awarded at the midseason.

- Geno Smith didn’t even get an invite to New York in 2012.

- But he will in 2013 so he can walk across the stage to shake Roger Goodell’s hand.

- The odds are very, very strong that Teddy Bridgewater won’t get an invite to New York in 2013.

- But he will in 2014 so he can walk across the stage to shake Roger Goodell’s hand.

- Give Louisville credit for coming out hot and taking its game to a whole other level, but it also helped that Florida was absolutely miserable.

- This was the weirdest coached BCS game since Bret Bielema and his staff forgot against TCU in the 2011 Rose Bowl that Wisconsin was pretty decent at running the ball. Will Muschamp coached Florida like it was Northern Illinois, destroying two huge momentum swings with moronic onside kick calls that weren’t even close to working.

- Florida did everything wrong with nine penalties – including some really, really dumb ones – three turnovers, and mistakes that were completely uncharacteristic for a team this good. And yet the Gators still had chance after chance after chance to get back in it, only to blow it each time.

- But give Louisville lots and lots of credit for making Florida screw up, highlighted by a pass rush that came up big every time it absolutely had to.

- Florida safety Matt Elam was absolutely brilliant. He brought the big boy pads in a game that solidified his All-America status.

- Again, give Louisville credit, but the maddening part about this game was that Florida showed what it could do when it just cranked up the intensity just a bit. When that defensive line started firing off the ball, there was nothing Florida could do.

-When Louisville’s defensive front was firing off the ball, there was nothing the beleaguered Gator offensive line could do.

- Again, though, it didn’t help that Driskel was trying to set records for who could hold the ball the longest.

- My bowl theory – if it’s not playing in the BCS championship, it’s always a good thing when a great team has an awful bowl. 1) It’s an easy recruiting pitch – “we’re one player away – you – from winning that game.” 2) It’s an easy motivational tool for the next eight months. Just ask Clemson. Everyone seems to be a little more focused and everyone works with a bigger sense of urgency.

- However, for a rising program like Louisville, winning a bowl game like this means everything. It cements Charlie Strong as a true superstar and the Cardinals as players.

- And this is why the new playoff format is probably going to suck. From the higher-up types who matter, by all indications, if the playoff style that’s going to be implemented two years from now was in place this season, Florida would’ve been in despite – in hindsight – not winning its own division, not winning the SEC championship and not winning its bowl game.

- ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC champions, the two highest-ranked conference champions among the Big East, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt, and one wild-card being the highest-ranked non-champion, or Notre Dame or BYU, left. Eight teams, all deserving.

- Jeff Driskel, I’d like to introduce you to a good friend of mine … an internal clock.

- Oh yes, the Big East team that got into the BCS by the skin of its teeth after coming up with close win after close win just so happened to explode on the big stage. No one gave the team much of a thought, but led by a brilliant star quarterback from Miami, everything clicked as the Big East got a big victory in impressive fashion.

Yes, West Virginia really was fantastic beating Clemson in the 2012 Orange Bowl.

Louisville, your performance might not have been as jaw-dropping as the Mountaineers’ destruction of the Tigers, but in many ways, considering how much respect the Gators were given, this might have been more impressive. Learn from West Virginia. Learn that no matter how hot the start and how impressive the start to the season might be, keeping the focus will be vital and being strong in all areas all of the time will be vital.

Now the spotlight will be on. Teddy Bridgewater will be on all the preseason Heisman lists, and Louisville will be one of the it teams with all the pressure in the world to get back into the BCS and be in the national title chase. There won’t be any excuses with the three toughest games on the 2013 schedule – in order – will be at home against Rutgers, on the road against Cincinnati, and on the road at Kentucky. In all, the Cardinals will be facing a grand total of five bowl teams – Ohio, Rutgers, San Diego State, UCF and at Cincinnati.

Louisville, go 12-0. There’s no excuse not to.

- Louisville won’t go 12-0.

- Get ready for the fight. Louisville will come really, really close to going 12-0, but the schedule will be so awful that the deserve factor will be a huge part of the discussions.

- Teddy Bridgewater, like Geno Smith, will win the Midseason Heisman.

- Unfortunately, the Heisman isn’t awarded at the midseason.

- Geno Smith didn’t even get an invite to New York in 2012.

- But he will in 2013 so he can walk across the stage to shake Roger Goodell’s hand.

- The odds are very, very strong that Teddy Bridgewater won’t get an invite to New York in 2013.

- But he will in 2014 so he can walk across the stage to shake Roger Goodell’s hand.

- Give Louisville credit for coming out hot and taking its game to a whole other level, but it also helped that Florida was absolutely miserable.

- This was the weirdest coached BCS game since Bret Bielema and his staff forgot against TCU in the 2011 Rose Bowl that Wisconsin was pretty decent at running the ball. Will Muschamp coached Florida like it was Northern Illinois, destroying two huge momentum swings with moronic onside kick calls that weren’t even close to working.

- Florida did everything wrong with nine penalties – including some really, really dumb ones – three turnovers, and mistakes that were completely uncharacteristic for a team this good. And yet the Gators still had chance after chance after chance to get back in it, only to blow it each time.

- But give Louisville lots and lots of credit for making Florida screw up, highlighted by a pass rush that came up big every time it absolutely had to.

- Florida safety Matt Elam was absolutely brilliant. He brought the big boy pads in a game that solidified his All-America status.

- Again, give Louisville credit, but the maddening part about this game was that Florida showed what it could do when it just cranked up the intensity just a bit. When that defensive line started firing off the ball, there was nothing Florida could do.

-When Louisville’s defensive front was firing off the ball, there was nothing the beleaguered Gator offensive line could do.

- Again, though, it didn’t help that Driskel was trying to set records for who could hold the ball the longest.

- My bowl theory – if it’s not playing in the BCS championship, it’s always a good thing when a great team has an awful bowl. 1) It’s an easy recruiting pitch – “we’re one player away – you – from winning that game.” 2) It’s an easy motivational tool for the next eight months. Just ask Clemson. Everyone seems to be a little more focused and everyone works with a bigger sense of urgency.

- However, for a rising program like Louisville, winning a bowl game like this means everything. It cements Charlie Strong as a true superstar and the Cardinals as players.