Louisville completed the season with just one loss, securing the program's second consecutive double-digit win season for the first time ever. The reward was an invitation to Orlando to face future ACC mate Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
For junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and 25 other Cardinals that hail from the Miami area, it meant an opportunity to face a familiar foe with a number of players that they know from their days of youth league and high school football.
"That was a great feeling," Bridgewater said of his reaction upon learning that Miami would be the bowl opponent .
The initial wave of disappointment of not securing a spot in the BCS faded quickly.
"What a way to end the year, playing against your hometown," he continued. "We've worked hard all season and we're glad that we have a good opponent. We're looking forward to playing those guys."
"We're still proud of ourselves because we know that at the end of the day it's bigger than ourselves," said the freshly graduated Bridgewater. "This is about the name across our jerseys, the University of Louisville. I have a lot of pride to play for it and still do, so even though we didn't get to a BCS game, the Russell Athletic Bowl is a great bowl also."
From the moment the Cardinals closed out the regular season with a thrilling overtime win at Cincinnati, much of the talk has focused on the quarterback's pending decision to leave a year early for the National Football League.
While he was recently projected as the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by ESPN's Todd McShay, Bridgewater's attention remains on completing the season before turning his attention towards his pro decision.
"I wanted to be able to focus on this season. At the beginning of the season I knew I would have a decision to make once the season was over. I want to take care of this season first and then take care of what's down the road.
"It's not difficult at all when you have your priorities in order."