There are plenty of names in the conversation: Archie Griffin, Tim Tebow, Roger Stabauch, Barry Sanders and Hershel Walker to name a few. Nobody, however, can step forward and definitively name one player as the single greatest player in college football history, which makes it a great conversation.
Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron has a serious shot of inserting himself into that conversation in 2013. I’d argue that nobody in the history of the game has been quieter in getting themselves into the discussion, as names like Bridgewater, Manziel and Clowney have dominated most of the preseason Heisman conversation to this point.
In McCarron’s two seasons as a starter for the Alabama Crimson Tide, he has thrown for 5,567 yards, 46 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. During that time he has also amassed a record of 25-2 with two BCS Championships. Should he put up the average of those two seasons during his senior year, he’ll have finished his career with 8739 passing yards, 72 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
McCarron’s Crimson Tide will be projected by just about every major media outlet to play for their third consecutive BCS Championship this season. He’s also on every preseason Heisman Trophy watch list. Should he win the Heisman and lead the Tide to another national title, A.J. McCarron’s collegiate resume would without question be the most decorated in the history of the college game.
Given the talent that Alabama returns on the offensive side of the ball and the national media attention that will follow McCarron and the Tide around all year, winning both a Heisman and a national title is not out of the question. Alabama should be favored in every game they play, with their toughest regular season test coming on September 14th when they travel to College Station, TX to play Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies. The Aggies were the only team to beat Alabama in 2012 and did so in Tuscaloosa.
McCarron’s only other hurdles in the way of winning a Heisman Trophy might be on his own team. Wide Receiver Amari Cooper (1000 yards and 11 TDs in 2012) and running back T.J. Yeldon (1108 yards and 12 TDS) are also going to be on some watch lists. Yeldon is the more serious threat of the two from a Heisman standpoint, but I can see Cooper getting into the mix if he steps out far enough as McCarron’s favorite target.
McCarron’s quiet quest is just one more reason that college football fans, especially fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide, are itching for those autumn Saturdays we all love so much.
BY J.P. SCOTT ON MAY 15, 2013