Alabama Football: AJ McCarron's Passing Ability Makes Crimson Tide Unstoppable

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 20:  AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after tossing a touchdown reception against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama can be counted on to run the ball, play aggressive defense and avoid mistakes, but a dynamic passing game is out of the question.

Until this year, that is.

A.J. McCarron has thrown for nearly 1,500 yards, 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions on the season. As the steady signal-caller of the nation's No. 1 team, it's hard to believe that he's receiving no Heisman Trophy whispers, but that's another argument altogether.

For now, just know that McCarron's production makes the Crimson Tide unstoppable.

They already have the other elements that people are used to seeing. The nation's No. 1 defense combines with one of the country's best rushing attacks to create a monstrous combination of ball-possessing, smashmouth football.

Add in McCarron's vertical throws and beating Alabama suddenly becomes more difficult than it already was.

On top of that, you don't know where McCarron is going to throw the ball. He's completed touchdowns to six different receivers this year, with freshman Amari Cooper leading the team with five scoring catches. McCarron knows how to manage the game and keep the defense off balance, while still picking out its weakest points.

McCarron looks like a different player this season. His confidence is there, possibly because he's playing behind the best offensive line in the nation. Adding to that confidence is knowing that T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy wait behind him, ready to take the ball on the ground at a moment's notice.

Even watching McCarron make this pass, he looks different:

Granted, DeAndrew White was wide open down the sideline, but the ball flies out of McCarron's hand without a single doubt behind it. He knows where it's going to land, and that's the difference in Alabama this season.

McCarron will always be unheralded, but he's doing an excellent job this season. Outside of possibly Aaron Murray, he has the most dangerous arm in the SEC.

When teams play Alabama, the dominant run game is expected. Ridiculous defense is expected. McCarron's passing game is still the overlooked factor on this team, but it's exactly what makes them unstoppable this season.