Both Alabama's T.J. Yeldon and LSU's Jeremy Hill had breakout seasons in 2012, and it's safe to say that Yeldon is the proverbial favorite to have the better sophomore season in 2013.
However, there's nothing wrong with going against the grain. There's nothing wrong with supporting Hill's chances of having a better season than Yeldon.
More eyes are on Yeldon, sure, but what most people are missing is the fact that Hill is just as talented as Yeldon, if not more talented.
Heading into next season, both running backs should be the starter for their respective teams. Yeldon will be the starting running back for Alabama now that Eddie Lacy has moved on to the NFL, while Hill earned the starting job a year ago with fantastic performances against Texas A&M, South Carolina, Alabama and Clemson.
In those games, Hill showcased power, speed, great vision and an adept ability to break tackles. Like Yeldon, he's a future superstar in the SEC.
However, both backs will split carries with teammates. Joining Yeldon in the backfield for 2013 should be Dee Hart, Jalson Fowler and 5-star athlete Derrick Henry. Hill should be the main back for LSU, but expect Alfred Blue to attain just about as many carries as Hill.
So both backs will share the backfield. No advantage for Hill or Yeldon there. But Hill will have a more productive season because of two simple reasons.
Miles Learned His Lesson
Here's to hoping Les Miles learned his lesson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. In other words, here's to words most likely falling on deaf ears.
Fans can only hope that Miles saw how Hill and his offensive line tore up Clemson's defense throughout the game. And more importantly, hopefully he saw what the offense did in the fourth quarter with no rush attempts by Hill.
With most of the offensive line returning, LSU will once more stick to its ground-and-pound mentality. And with a superstar like Hill returning in the backfield, the success of LSU relies on how many carries Hill obtains this season, especially in the fourth quarter.
Miles should learn from his offensive failures in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the Tigers should ride Hill all season.
Let's face it—A.J. McCarron is a far better quarterback than Zach Mettenberger.
With the experience and success he gained in 2012, Saban shouldn't hesitate to rely on McCarron's arm more to win games.
Who will have the better sophomore season?
Alabama will still be a run-first team. There's no denying that. But even with that being so, McCarron should throw the football even more than he did a year ago. Heck, look at McCarron's 264-yard, four-touchdown performance against Notre Dame in the 2013 BCS Championship Game.
As for Mettenberger, LSU will rely on him to keep defenses from loading the box, but Hill is the key to victory.
Using Hill and Blue, LSU will continue to play grown-man football, while Alabama leans a little more on McCarron.
Consequently, there's no reason Hill shouldn't have a better sophomore season than Yeldon.