Alabama QB AJ McCarron
Remember two weeks ago, when West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith's lead in the Heisman Trophy race was insurmountable?
My, how things have changed.
After two sluggish offensive performances, one of which was to Collin Klein's Kansas State Wildcats, Smith has been knocked off his Heisman pedestal and replaced with Klein.
The race isn't as set in stone as it was two weeks ago, which has opened the door for several potential winners, including Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron.
McCarron had his best game of the season last weekend against Tennessee, completing 17 of 22 passes for 306 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions—with a bad knee.
He has successfully shed the "game-manager" label and emerged as the biggest downfield threat that has stepped foot in Tuscaloosa in quite some time.
The junior signal-caller for the Crimson Tide has completed 106 of 154 passes (68.8 percent) for 1,476 yards (210.9 YPG), 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He leads the nation with a passer rating of 183.63, and is a big reason why Alabama has looked so dominant in 2012.
It isn't as flashy as Smith's aerial assault and isn't as dynamic as Klein's dual-threat ability, but McCarron is the reason that the Alabama offense clicks. Alabama's offense lost its top four pass-catchers from last season, and the Crimson Tide passing game hasn't missed a beat.
In fact, it's better.
Through seven games last season, McCarron threw 197.1 yards per game, tossed nine touchdowns and two picks. Good, but nowhere close to the level he has established for himself in 2012.
Will AJ McCarron be a Heisman finalist in 2012?
He came to Alabama as the nation's No. 7 pro-style quarterback in the class of 2009, according to 247Sports.com. To his credit, he has scaled back his gunslinger mentality in favor of the ground-and-pound offense that Alabama has used to be so successful in the past.
Should McCarron be in the Heisman discussion?
The Heisman Trust states that the award is supposed to go to the most outstanding player in college football. He may not win games in the same way that Klein does, but you'd have a hard time convincing me that his performance in 2012 shouldn't earn him serious consideration.