Greg McElroy a Heisman Dark Horse

Joe Burgett @JoEburGett_WESenior Writer IIIOctober 7, 2009

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Quarterback Greg McElroy #12 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Georgia Dome on September 5, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

If you're not an Alabama Crimson Tide fan or an SEC fan period, then you may have no idea who this man is, yet he is just as good as, if not better than, anyone else in the nation.

His name is Greg McElroy.

The University of Alabama has been doing well over the past few years, and many can say it is because of Nick Saban. But while Saban is a good coach, and has really helped out the team, the players still have to go out there and play.

Which means we need to highlight certain individuals who are doing well, and McElroy is undoubtedly among them.

This is his first year starting in college and that made many people wonder, "Can he do well in a place like the SEC, especially in a place like Alabama where fans put a lot of pressure on players to do well?"

Usually we see people struggle during their first year, especially in the SEC, mainly because the defenses are so great. The top defenses in the nation in any given year usually come from the SEC, and this year is no different. In fact, Alabama's D is considered the best.

In Alabama, people like to talk early about awards. Fans here think Rolando McClain will be the defensive player of the year, and that Julio Jones will be the receiver of the year. And you'd be surprised at how convincing the arguments are for those two.

But McElroy is a person no one expected to do as well as he is doing, and, in my opinion, he is a dark horse in the Heisman race.

He is on par with or better than anyone in the nation right now. If you think I'm nuts, check out his numbers: McElroy has completed 78 of 119 passes for a 65.5 completion percentage, 1086 passing yards, 9 TDs, and only 1 INT, and a 165.5 QB Rating.

That is as good as or better than Tebow, Bradford, and even McCoy.

Sure, the numbers for all three will increase when they return from injury, but McElroy will also keep getting better. When you are on par with the big three in the nation, and have better numbers than each of them, you should be considered on the Heisman race with all three.

When the season started, people thought Bradford would repeat or Tebow would come out and win another. Some even thought McCoy was due, and would have a great season ending up with a Heisman Trophy.

While I think McCoy will still have a great season, McElroy faces some of the best defenses in the nation and still gets things done.

Some people are going to say that McElroy struggles in games sometimes, especially at the start of them. But the great part about him is that he is finishing games strong. And unlike McCoy, Tebow, or Bradford, he has a great running game to open up the passing for him.

Alabama is the only team that has four running backs playing every game, where all get at least five or six carries. And the feature back, Ingram, doesn't always get the most carries. The ball goes to the one who is hot at the time. If that is Ingram, then he gets the bulk of the carries.

All of the backs are getting their numbers, and there is complete selflessness there. The question mark at the beginning of the season was not the running game but the O-line, and, as I mentioned before, the QB position.

Both are doing well, which is surprising. McElroy took over for a QB in John Parker Wilson who was good but not great. The O-line had to replace Caldwell and Smith, two of the best O-linemen in the nation last year.

The absence of Smith in the Utah game last year showed, as the team had to do four line changes, which is more than they had done all year during a game. 'Bama ended up losing, despite many believing the Tide was the better team.

This year, the line is holding up well and blocking as good as any in the nation right now. McElroy gets plenty of time to throw and he has some nice guys there to throw to in Jones, Maze, Hanks, and others.

Not to mention, the backs are not back there to run all of the time. Ingram has the most receptions on the team right now, and he is the feature back! It is just a pure "team" with McElroy running the offense.

With the team scoring 30-plus points a game, his numbers will continue to rise. He may even lead them to a National Title.

His numbers speak for themselves, and while he may not be considered the best as far as pure ability is concerned, he is still getting the job done, well, better than others.

The dark horse in this Heisman race is McElroy, and we should not be surprised to see him in New York later in the year if he keeps up the great play.

If he does take the award, he'd be the first in University of Alabama history.