Alabama vs. Notre Dame: What We Learned About A.J. McCarron in BCS Championship

Marques EversollAnalyst IJanuary 8, 2013

A.J. McCarron cemented his legacy at Alabama by winning a second National Championship.
A.J. McCarron cemented his legacy at Alabama by winning a second National Championship.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

What 22-year-old kid has it better than Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron? After leading the Alabama Crimson Tide to a second consecutive BCS National Championship, McCarron has cemented his legacy in college football.

McCarron stole the spotlight on Monday night, throwing four touchdown passes in Alabama's 42-14 rout of Notre Dame. Alabama running back Eddie Lacy was named the game's MVP for his 157-total-yard, two-touchdown performance, but McCarron was the difference in the game.

Alabama has the pieces in place to make a quarterback successful. And without a doubt, McCarron maximizes his potential behind a great offensive line, an elite running game and some talented players on the outside.

But Monday night's game really showed what McCarron brings to the table.

He's not just a "winner." Yes, the kid is 25-2 in the past two seasons. But he's so much more than that. He's a quarterback.

On several occasions Monday night, McCarron delivered a dime down the field where only his wide receiver could make a catch. His accuracy was on display all night, completing 71.4 percent of his passes for 264 yards.

Had it been a closer game with Alabama needing to put more points on the board late, McCarron would have dwarfed those numbers. But he did more than enough to earn Alabama another national championship.

College football enthusiasts came away as impressed with Nick Saban's program as Brent Musburger was with A.J. McCarron's girlfriend.

The Crimson Tide will lose some key players on offense. Offensive guard Chance Warmack figures to be a high first-round pick, and center Barrett Jones should crack the latter portion of Round 1 as well.

But just as the Tide filled the holes left by last year's draft class, Alabama will send players to the NFL and bring up new players to start next season. Last year, Courtney Upshaw, Dont'a Hightower and Mark Barron were all first-round picks in the 2012 NFL draft.

Each player went on to play a significant role for an NFL team this season, and yet Alabama remained the best team in college football. Saban is an excellent recruiter, constantly stacking the cupboards with top-tier athletes and chasing championships at Alabama.

Next year's team will look different, no doubt. But with McCarron under center, this Alabama team will undoubtedly be back competing for another national championship next season. They're just that good.