Why Houston was most excited city in the entire world Saturday night
A few hours before the second piece of great news for Houston played out on national television, the first swirled around the Internet.
Out of the East came word that the Houston Texans are “working on an agreement” to make Penn State’s Bill O’Brien their next head coach after firing Gary Kubiak earlier this season.
O’Brien claims he’s staying at Penn State, as one Nittany Lions recruit says he’s been told, and luckily no coach has ever been anything less than truthful with recruits regarding impending job offers.
Meanwhile, later in Orlando, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was busy crushing the Miami Hurricanes in the Russell Athletic Bowl 36-9. Bridgewater set a career-high with 447 yards passing, while completing 35-of-45 throws, and added three passing touchdowns and one rushing score.
He added and subtracted velocity on throws when needed, showed beautiful touch, displayed pocket awareness and mobility, made plays with his legs when his progressions stalled — Bridgewater showed off everything that has led many NFL Draft analysts to believe he’s the top talent in the 2014 class and worthy of the No. 1 overall selection, which currently is the projected property of the Texans.
As time dwindled down in Orlando, social media was well into debating whether Bridgewater, a junior, will turn pro, and Texans fans were starting to count their blessings. This succinctly describes Houston’s euphoria:
teddy bridgewater + bill o'brien = #thetruth
— bray borkovich (@b_ray) December 29, 2013
Word spread that Texans general manager Rick Smith was in Orlando to watch Bridgewater, and by then it was madness.
It didn’t matter that Bridgewater has yet to officially announce he’ll be entering the draft.
By halftime against Miami, we had personally taken his final year of eligibility from him and shoved him into the pros:
Teddy Bridgewater, take the money and run
— Remington Maguffee (@scafd12) December 29, 2013
Erin even professed her affection to Bridgewater:
I love you #TeddyBridgewater.
— Erin Huber (@Eee_Bee) December 29, 2013
Oh, that’s not enough?
How about Deandre Hopkins, a current Texans receiver, dreaming about what could be next season as beautiful spirals are launched through Reliant Stadium to him:
Teddy Bridgewater is nice
— Deandre Hopkins (@Nukdabomb) December 29, 2013
At one point in the fourth quarter, Rod Gilmore, the color commentator on the bowl broadcast, tried to make even a semi-feasible case for Bridgewater returning to Louisville for a fourth season, and it consisted of two points: 1) enjoy one more season with the classmates you came in with, and 2) get a little stronger and more physically prepared for the NFL.
Gilmore’s a sharp guy, but even he began to laugh at the idea of his case, rhetorically asking his partner, “What, not convinced?”
Of course not, because the very definition of insanity is Teddy Bridgewater returning to Louisville to play more football.
Bridgewater, at a listed 6-foot-3 and 196 pounds, does need to add some strength and could be better physically prepared for the pro game, but degrees of readiness almost always fall second to degrees of business sense in these draft decisions.
Having earned his degree from Louisville this month, Bridgewater is in an even better position than most juniors who must decide between turning pro without completing their education or coming back and hoping the same opportunity will present itself in a year.
As Bridgewater thrashed Miami, none of that needed to be discussed. I suspect, in a day or two or several more, the only intensive conversation Bridgewater will have is one like this:
Yes, it was a thrill to watch Bridgewater at Louisville.
He helped the Cardinals get to three bowl games in his three years on campus, which included a thorough beating of Florida in the Sugar Bowl last season and Saturday’s win over Miami. He helped make Charlie Strong a name worth watching on the annual coaching carousel.
He helped make Louisville a viable football program as it heads to the ACC in 2014.
Bridgewater gave us a great show, leaving college football wanting more and the NFL waiting for its first serving next fall.
It’s coming, seemingly along with Bill O’Brien, and damn it must feel good today to be a Houstonian.
Teddy Mitrosilis writes and edits college football for FOXSports.com. Follow him on Twitter and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.