2013 quarterback rankings: Teddy Bridgewater and the AAC
Not only is Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater highlighted as the conference's best quarterback, but many feel that he will be the top overall taken in next year's NFL draft.
So the question lies: Teddy, then who?
Cincinnati's Brendon Kay returns as a sixth-year senior, leading a Bearcats offensive unit that is ran by first-year coach Tommy Tuberville (while transfer Gunner Kiel eagerly awaits eligibility).
Blake Bortles is back after helping UCF attain a 10-win season in the C-USA, throwing for over 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns in the process. He will once again be the key to success as the Knights take on the AAC.
Gary Nova and Chandler Whitmer are familiar names, but that doesn't necessarily mean good things for Rutgers and UConn, respectively.
Join the debate as we rank the American's quarterbacks heading into the 2013 season.
1. Teddy Bridgewater, JR, Louisville (2012 stats: 3,718 pass yards, 27 touchdowns, 8 interceptions)
With Bridgewater, Louisville could be a 12-0 team and potentially a national title contender. Without him, the Cardinals are mediocre at best. He's just that good; Bridgewater has all of the tools and traits you want to see out of a quarterback. He has an elite arm, accuracy and pocket presence to be your traditional drop-back passer, but can beat you with deceptive dual-threat abilities as a true athletic specimen. Bridgewater is a leader, has the toughness required to play the position, and the drive to succeed. He's the best QB in the nation for a reason, and it'll show in 2013.
2. Blake Bortles, JR, UCF (3,059 yards, 25 touchdowns, 7 interceptions; 285 rush yards, 8 touchdowns)
In his first full season as a starter, Bortles was the team's playmaker under center, earning All-Conference honors and was the Beef O'Brady Bowl's MVP. Take away his three interceptions against Ohio State and he threw just four in 13 games — including zero in 10 different appearances. Bortles is an efficient passer with a lot of room to improve, but should have a strong supporting cast this fall to help him do so.
3. Garrett Gilbert, SR, SMU (2,932 yards, 15 touchdowns, 15 interceptions; 346 rush yards, 8 touchdowns)
Gilbert is a bit of a wild card here, but there's a lot of talent somewhere deep down inside that 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame. One of the top quarterback prospects for the class of 2009, Gilbert never lived up to lofty expectations as a member of the Texas Longhorns. He's shown sparks of the player he was supposed to be here and there while at SMU, but still lacked consistency and had too many self-inflicted errors. Mustangs coach June Jones has a track record of developing quarterbacks and Gilbert fits well into his system, so my thoughts are that we'll see a big difference in performance.