AJ McCarron is Mr. Alabama, the kind of guy whose name, face and number will be raised, plastered and mounted in the hallowed halls of Bryant-Denny Stadium for years to come. He is the consummate member of the Crimson Tide program, having led them to consecutive national titles prior to this season.
But come Jan. 6, he'll be rooting for their biggest rival.
According to CBS Sports' Eye on College Football blog, McCarron said that he might "wear Orange and Blue" during the BCS National Championship Game, ostensibly to root for Auburn to beat Florida State:
AJ McCarron on the SEC in the BCS title game: “That might be the one night I wear Orange and Blue”— Eye on College FBall (@EyeOnCFB) December 14, 2013
McCarron's girlfriend, Katherine Webb, is famously an Auburn graduate, even though she roots for McCarron and Alabama during the annual Iron Bowl, according to Rachel Axon of USA Today. Now that he's not on the field, AJ feels no reason not to return the favor.
More than anything, though, McCarron is simply rooting for his conference. Intraleague rivalries oftentimes take a back seat during bowl season, since each team has a vested interest in the well-being of its conference.
If Auburn beats Florida State, the SEC will finish the BCS era with eight consecutive national titles. If the SEC finishes the BCS era with eight consecutive national titles, it will be even easier for SEC teams to recruit. If it's easier for SEC teams to recruit, Alabama has a better chance of continuing this age of dominance under Nick Saban.
It's a tough pill for McCarron and all Alabama fans to swallow, given the way this year's Iron Bowl ended. If not for Chris Davis' immortal "Kick Six," when he returned a missed field goal 109 yards for the game-winning touchdown as time expired, Alabama might be the team playing in Pasadena, and Nick Marshall might be the quarterback forced to wear his biggest rival's colors.
But this is the world in which we live. Hard as it may be for some Alabama fans to admit, Auburn beating Florida State in Pasadena is the best thing for every program in the SEC.
And last time I checked, Alabama is indeed still one of those programs.