Barett Trotter or A.J. McCarron: Who Will Be the Better SEC Quarterback?

Dan GruczaContributor IMarch 13, 2011

Chizik and Saban will both have new quarterbacks in 2011
Chizik and Saban will both have new quarterbacks in 2011Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I keep seeing Alabama picked in the top five in the 2011 Preseason polls asking whether or not Auburn will make a bowl game in 2011.

Both teams will have brand new quarterbacks next season, making their first starts as SEC quarterbacks.

The old saying is that offense makes for good television ratings, but defense wins championships.  But I think that it is usually good quarterback play that wins championships.  It seems like the play of Aaron Rogers, Drew Brees, Vince Young or Cam Newton is what leads teams to championships. 

Last year's Auburn team finished 53rd in the nation in total defense and the 2009 New Orleans Saints had the 25th best defense of the 32 teams in the National Football League, yet both teams brought home the trophy.

I can understand the concern about Auburn.  They have to replace Cam Newton.  Newton assembled arguably the greatest single season in the history of college quarterbacking in 2010. He threw for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns, was intercepted only seven times in 280 attempts, rushed for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns, made an incredible touchdown catch at Ole Miss, won the Heisman Trophy and the national championship.

Barrett Trotter is being compared to Cam Newton and that is not fair.  Hardly anyone is going to compare with Cam Newton.  Don't forget, coming out of spring practice last year, Auburn coaches were not ready to name Cam Newton the starting quarterback as he was in dead heat with Trotter. 

Why not the same concern with A.J. McCarron?  Is it because he is taking the place of Greg McElroy and not Cam Newton? 

A.J. McCarron weighs in at a Brodie Croyle-like 190 pounds, and last I saw was trying to force passes into double coverage like a young John Parker Wilson.

Both quarterbacks played only mop-up rolls last year, so it is difficult to how they will project as starters.  As a matter of fact, probably the biggest hit either one of them took last year was the one that A.J. took when he was spanked by Saban when he headed to the sideline after a bone headed play against Mississippi State.

I know you cannot use high school statistics to project college performance, but these two both played at major high school programs and how did they stack up?

Looking at their Senior years, it is not even close.

While at 5A Briarwood Christian High School in Birmingham, Trotter completed 211 of 318 pass attempts for 3,404 yards and 46 touchdowns.  He rushed for 556 yards and 6 touchdowns.

While at 5A St. Paul's Episcopal School in Mobile, McCarron threw for 1,560 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Those are not even close!  Trottter blows McCarron out of the water.

During their entire high school careers, Trotter threw for 7,968 yards compared to 6,066 yards for McCarron and Trotter passed for 88 touchdowns compared to 66 touchdowns through the air by McCarron.

Get the picture? Barrett Trotter is a big time prospect but is unfairly being compared to Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton while A.J. McCarron is being promoted as the second coming of Joe Namath, and the most highly touted quarterback in a long line of Alabama highly touted quarterbacks such as Jeff Dunn and Star Jackson.

I repeat, I know you cannot directly translate high school performance to those at the SEC level.

My point is that Barrett Trotter compares very favorably to A.J. McCarron, and I think Trotter will be the better SEC quarterback.

A lot of that will be determined by how they are coached up.  I like Gus Malzahn's chances of turning Trotter into a successful quarterback.  Anyone who can set school records with Chris Todd at quarterback has my vote.