Argue with me if you want, but I don’t think U of L beats Kentucky Saturday if Will Stein doesn’t get hurt. Teddy Bridgewater isn’t polished, experienced or ready, but he’s shown that at least he can perform under pressure and that he’s got a big-time arm.
Yes, the biggest question marks for the Cards, the offensive line and the secondary, came up big and assured the victory. And if you’re a UK fan, this third straight dismal performance has you looking around the country to see who the next hot coach is you might recruit. While TV viewers (OK, Insight, you win, I bought the ESPNU package) were treated to seeing more emotion than Charlie Strong’s ever shown, Joker Phillips couldn’t even muster up a good excuse for his team’s play.
The best TV moment came in the first half, when Strong got incensed at the referees after what appeared to be a successful U of L play from scrimmage was blown dead after players heard a whistle coming from the stands. The broadcast showed police escorting a blue-shirted dude with a camo hat on out of the stadium, after they’d taken the whistle from around his neck.
Strong and the Cards have a week off, so Strong has plenty of time to consider how to divvy up playing time at QB. I think he should start Bridgewater and let him learn under fire. I think this team has as much chance of winning with Bridgewater as with Stein. But I suspect Strong will stick with Stein, but that he will use Bridgewater earlier in the game and more frequently.
The Cards’ biggest offensive surprise was the effectiveness of third-string QB Dominique Brown as a rusher. Make no mistake, the Cards’ offense has plenty of firepower.
LEFTOVERS: The bigger question that came up at U of L over the weekend is – Where do the Cards end up when the music stops in the conference realignment game? U of L AD Tom Jurich seemed to be cuaght off guard over the weekend when it came out that Pittsburgh and Syracuse are leaving the Big East for the ACC. Even if that was the end of the changes, the Big East would be down to seven football-playing schools when TCU joins up.
So Jurich is likely having a busy day. The Big East, as it exists today, seems doomed. Rumors have Rutgers and Connecticut jumping ship too. Jurich won’t let U of L be left out of the college football national championship picture, and will make sure U of L is an a league associated with the BCS.
Those six leagues, right now, are the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12. Both the Big East and Big 12 are in trouble, so most envision what I’d call a Leftovers League, with Big East and Big 12 teams not bolting for others leagues forming its nucleus. It could include Cincinnati, TCU, Louisville, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, South Florida, Baylor and Texas Tech.
Yawn if you like, but it’s a league that U of L could conceivably win. And in basketball, the league could take all the Big East basketball schools that haven’t bolted, making a still-competitive conference, even without Pitt and Syracuse.