Teddy Bridgewater did not want a Heisman campaign. The potential top five pick requested that the Louisville athletic department not run a PR blitz for him. He wants to focus on the 2013 season and not deflect attention from his teammates.
“We’re going to let Teddy go and play,” Strong said. “Teddy doesn’t want to let people down and he doesn’t want all of the attention. He wants to win first and foremost.”
First, the campaigns do help. The process involves nearly 1,000 voters. Not all have an expansive perspective. Sending band-aids or trading cards to every media member does not decide the Heisman race, but it enhances recognition. Voters knowing who the quarterback is at, say, Baylor before the season can make a difference.
One could praise Bridgewater for being selfless and humble. That’s fair. But being too effusive requires branding those who let their schools promote them as selfish attention whores. One would hardly accuse Collin Klein or Robert Griffin III of not being equally dedicated to winning.
In Louisville’s case, promoting Bridgewater is also promoting the team. Not doing so preseason could do them a disservice. Their 2013 schedule is pitiful. The “tough stretch” is consecutive home games against Rutgers and UCF. Should they go undefeated, it would be hard to put them in the BCS title game ahead of a one-loss team from a reputable conference.
The BCS is still a popularity contest. Louisville can’t pull off major wins. The Cardinals need all the publicity they can get. Bridgewater wants the focus on the team. But the team may only go as far as his publicity takes them.
[Photo via USA Today Sports]