The Louisville Cardinals came into the Sugar Bowl as Big East champions but still ranked just 21st in the BCS standings.
And even the Big East championship did not come across as too great of an accomplishment, considering they had the same conference record as Cincinnati, Rutgers, and Syracuse.
It looked like Louisville would be no match for the third-ranked Florida Gators.
The Gators only had one loss on the season, which came against Georgia, and they only missed out on the SEC Championship game because of that loss. They still had a very successful season, making it to the Sugar Bowl and being heavy favorites in the game, so it looked like they would end their season on a positive note.
But this certainly did not look to be the case when Louisville was already up 7-0 before twenty seconds passed in the game. A quick pick-six gave the Cardinals the early lead, one that they never gave up.
Louisville led at halftime by the score of 24-10 and won 33-23.
Teddy Bridgewater led his Cardinals to the win by throwing for 266 yards and two touchdowns. He vastly outplayed Florida’s Jeff Driskel and proved why fans nationwide must remember Bridgewater’s name.
He is only a sophomore, which makes him an early candidate for next year’s Heisman race.
The win proved to be the only upset so far in this BCS bowl season.
Wisconsin, Northern Illinois Fail in Upset Bids
Wisconsin had the first chance at an upset in the Rose Bowl over Stanford, but the Badgers fell short by six points. They had no business being in this game with their 8-5 record, but they qualified thanks to a major upset over Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship game … which they only qualified for due to the sanctions against Penn State and the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes.
Even if Wisconsin would have won, it would not have been considered too major of an upset due to their past success and prestige of the Big Ten conference. It would simply have drawn controversy over a five-loss team being able to win a BCS game. That talk already exists now due to their presence in the game.
A true chance for an upset came in the Orange Bowl. Northern Illinois tried to be this year’s mid-major Cinderella story but could not piece together a good game against Florida State.
This drew further talk about how deserving Northern Illinois was of a BCS berth, but within the current guidelines of the BCS there should be no discussion. Northern Illinois earned it. A team like Georgia is certainly more deserving of a BCS bid based on their season, but with the way the BCS is set up, Northern Illinois made it fairly.
Good Night For BCS
Louisville’s upset of Florida was a blessing in disguise for the BCS.
If Florida would have blown out Louisville, that would have made three teams ranked in the top twelve defeating lesser ranked teams, with one not even being ranked (Wisconsin). It would have drawn debate to how meaningful BCS games truly are, as more competitive games are seen in non-BCS bowls such as the Cotton Bowl and the Capital One Bowl.
Louisville’s win also validated the automatic berth for the Big East champion, even though the conference is currently falling apart both in football and basketball. The Big East was easily the weakest of the power conferences this year, so it is great to see them help out their conference’s image before they depart for the ACC.
The last two BCS games feature evenly matched opponents as fourth-ranked Oregon faces fifth-ranked Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl tonight. Then top-ranked Notre Dame takes on second-ranked Alabama in Monday’s BCS National Championship game.
Thus, Louisville’s upset will be the only major one of this year’s BCS season, and it helped to keep the BCS’ image intact, at least for one more year.