Butch Dill/Associated Press
When you're looking to replace a quarterback like AJ McCarron, who won back-to-back national championships, you're bound to make this list.
The battle appears to be narrowed to fifth-year senior Blake Sims and Florida State transfer Jacob Coker. However, at SEC media days, head coach Nick Saban said, "This is an open competition, no doubt," per Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com.
Surprise, but the Crimson Tide have lofty expectations, including a national championship. The team is loaded again to make another run. With running backs T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, the running game is there to take any pressure off of whoever starts under center. Wide receiver Amari Cooper is back to help in the passing game.
In short, the quarterback doesn't necessarily have to be the focal point of the offense. But it undoubtedly will be.
According to Scarborough, Coker is the "clear favorite." Coker lost out to Jameis Winston at Florida State, but after Winston won the Heisman, it's easy to see why there's little shame in that. However, Sims' athleticism gives the offense another dimension, not to mention he's a locker room veteran. As Saban explained, a two-quarterback system isn't out of the possibility:
It's not something that I would hope would happen. Is it something that I can totally rule out? Not really because I think the skill set of Blake Sims can create problems for a defense. If we wanted to utilize him to do that in some kind of way, I guess you could say that we could possibly have a two-quarterback system.
That would go against Saban's traditional stance on quarterbacks. Then again, so is adding a graduate transfer who could play right away. All of that adds another level of intrigue to this battle.
Maybe it's more clear-cut than Saban is willing to admit, but who anchors the Tide's offense will always be a storyline. This one just happens to be extra fascinating.