So, it's now official. The Louisville Cardinals is heading to the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, to be played Dec. 28 at the Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando.
Will quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a Miami product who graduated from Northwestern High and was once committed to the Miami Hurricanes, face the team he grew up loving?
We won't know until Sunday. I still think Miami has a good shot of heading to Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Bowl to face an SEC opponent. ESPN likes the ratings that the Canes bring, and something about the Canes and the SEC makes it a good draw.
Either way, both bowls could be fun games. Future ACC team Louisville, with Teddy (and former UM defensive line coach Clint Hurtt) would make for an intriguing matchup as well.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Here's the story posted by Matt Repchak of FCSports & The Russell Athletic Bowl:
The Louisville Cardinals have accepted an invitation to play in the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl. This year’s edition of the game will take place on December 28th at Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium at 6:45 p.m., and will be televised nationally by ESPN.
"Russell Athletic is thrilled that the Louisville Cardinals will complete their outstanding season by appearing in the Russell Athletic Bowl," said Gary Barfield, Senior Vice President, Russell Athletic. "We are eager to find out on Sunday who Louisville will be facing in what is sure to be an exciting game."
Louisville heads to Orlando for the first time after posting its second-straight 10-win season, capped by a 31-24 overtime win at Cincinnati tonight. It becomes the third team in bowl history to enter the game with double-digit wins (Boston College (10), 2007 Champs Sports Bowl; Alabama (10), 1991 Blockbuster Bowl). The previous two teams each went on to win the bowl game and finish with an 11-win campaign.
The Cardinals return junior QB Teddy Bridgewater, who already ranks third in Louisville history in passing yards and fourth in career touchdowns.
The Louisville defense has stymied the opposition all year long. The unit ranks second in total defense in the FBS, allowing only 242.5 yards per game and third in scoring defense, surrendering just 11.4 points per game. The Cardinals also rank in the top five nationally in rushing defense, passing defense, turnover margin and third down conversion percentage.
"We're excited to host a ranked, one-loss Louisville team for the first time in the Russell Athletic Bowl,” said Steve Hogan. “It has built a powerful fan following and we look forward to rolling out the red carpet for Orlando Bowl Week."
Head coach Charlie Strong is an impressive 36-15 with the Cardinals, leading them to two conference championships and bowl appearances now in each of his four seasons. Louisville can earn at least a share of its third straight conference championship with a UCF loss on Saturday.