Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron has enjoyed one of the most decorated careers in college football history. McCarron has been a member of three BCS championship teams, including two as the Crimson Tide's starting quarterback.
With 5,956 passing yards, 49 touchdowns, a 66.7 completion percentage and 460 completions, McCarron has an opportunity to capture every major Alabama career passing record in 2013. However, McCarron's trophy case is missing just one piece of hardware: a Heisman Trophy.
Despite leading the most dominant program in college football, the Alabama quarterback has yet to finish within the top 10 of Heisman voting since taking the reins in Tuscaloosa. McCarron is once again a preseason favorite. Yet Alabama's run-oriented offense, his team's level of talent and the emergence of individual superstars will likely hinder his chances.
Still, McCarron is fully capable of seeing another increase in statistical production. Last season, McCarron nearly doubled his touchdown total and added 299 passing yards from his 2011 totals.
The Tide are also without the previous season's leading rusher. However, sophomore T.J. Yeldon finished just 214 yards behind Eddie Lacy and will likely be the focal point of the Alabama offense.
Alabama's offense typically focuses on their running backs. Glenn Coffee, Mark Ingram (the team's only Heisman winner), Trent Richardson, Lacy and Yeldon have all managed to flourish under the Saban regime. While McCarron saw a statistical increase in 2013, he was still considered more of a game manager than Heisman-contending quarterback.
The Heisman hype will also play a major factor in McCarron's chances. His quest for dominance in the Alabama record book could create enough buzz to push his campaign.
But McCarron will need a signature moment to successfully capture the title this season. As Alabama continues to dominate the college football landscape, McCarron will likely have a much easier path than his competition.
Unless a team can provide a true test for the defending champions, the Tide quarterback will not be called upon to provide a clutch, defining moment the likes of Johnny Manziel, Robert Griffin III and other past winners have been.
McCarron will undoubtedly provide a proper ending to a historic college career during his senior season. It may be a fool's bet to choose him as a Heisman favorite though.