Should Alabama Crank Up a Full-Fledged Heisman Campaign for QB AJ McCarron?
He may not have the video-game numbers like Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel or Clemson's Tajh Boyd, but when it comes to outstanding college football players, it's hard to find one more outstanding than Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron.
The redshirt senior for the Crimson Tide is at it again, having completed 68.9 percent of his passes (111 of 161) for 1,407 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions on the season. He's fifth in the SEC in passer rating (161.17) and could easily lead the conference in that category for the second straight season with a couple of good games.
He has two straight national titles, was named offensive MVP of the 2012 BCS National Championship Game after the 2011 season, and has more national title rings than losses as a starting quarterback—counting his redshirt season.
Unfairly labeled as a "game-manager," McCarron proved in the 2012 title game that the coaching staff can give him the ball with the confidence he will dial it up when appropriate.
ESPN recently debated whether or not McCarron was the MVP of college football on Final Verdict Saturday night after Alabama's 48-7 rout of Kentucky. McCarron responded to the debate, courtesy of Andrew Gribble of AL.com.
"It’s an honor, but at the same time I don’t pay attention to that," McCarron said. "I’m here for my teammates and trying to do what I can for them. Whatever they need me to do for us to win, I’m ready."
"Whatever they need me to do" is the right approach for McCarron. One of the primary responsibilities of a quarterback is to manage a game. He does so at an elite level, but he also stretches the field and acts the part of a gunslinger if and when it's needed.
So should Alabama start a full-fledged Heisman campaign for the Mobile, Ala., native?
Georgia associate athletics director for communications Claude Felton said it right when he decided not to launch a campaign for Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray before the season started.
"Today is a different age than the days of what many remember and what is perceived as the traditional 'Heisman Campaign'," Felton said in July, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. "The most important things in my view are name recognition, being on television, and playing well when you are on TV."
McCarron is in the exact same situation.
Should Alabama run a Heisman campaign for AJ McCarron?
He has all of the exposure required to win the Heisman, is winning at an elite level and has eclipsed the 300-yard mark twice this season. Despite the No. 1 ranking, his team has fallen off the radar a bit thanks to a cakewalk in the month of October. That will change on Nov. 9 when LSU rolls into town, and will continue later in the month when the Tide visits a resurgent Auburn Tigers team in one of the top rivalry games in college football.
If McCarron leads his team through the regular season and into the Georgia Dome with a shot at another BCS title game berth on the line, it's going to be hard to keep him out of New York City and the Heisman Trophy presentation.
All McCarron needs to do to make himself attractive to Heisman voters is point to the scoreboard.
Isn't that all that matters?
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