By: Larry Burton
Do you think the national fear or dislike of Alabama winning a 3rd straight NC is one reason AJ is not seriously considered as a Heisman candidate?
AJ’s biggest problem in winning a Heisman is Alabama itself. The quarterback at the University of Alabama has the nation’s deepest talent pool, stocked with group after group of number one recruiting classes and the best coach in the nation is supposed to win. They don’t get credit for things going right like some other quarterbacks.
Last season, “Johnny Football” was considered to be the main the main factor in raising Texas A&M from a so so team to a world beater that gave Alabama it’s only loss last season. Since it was considered to be Manziel that was the key person that elevated that team, he reaped all the benefits and attention the whole team earned.
McCarron shares the spotlight with famous running backs and receivers and the fans and media alike don’t see McCarron as the sole reason Alabama wins at the rate it does. Perhaps even being in the shadow of Nick Saban hurts him to a certain extent.
Secondly, some quarterbacks, Manziel especially, make crazy plays that shouldn’t work out well, but more than often they do and they make all the highlight reels. McCarron on the other hand, makes everything he does look easy. He doesn’t do wild scrambles and toss it up for grabs, he doesn’t throw into triple coverage and pray for a receiver to make a miracle catch, he scans the field and picks the man who can make the easiest catch and delivers.
As far as dislike of Alabama, that too could be. There is an ABA mentality out there this season, with ABA standing for “Anybody But Alabama”. A great portion of the writers outside SEC country may feel like Alabama and their players have gotten enough praise, attention and awards and others deserve a little of the things that are left over.
As for fear, I don’t see that. Voters of the Heisman really have nothing to fear. Of course there may be voter bias, but that bias may go toward all the other stars on the Alabama team making AJ not looking as important and not the sole reason for their success.
And another thing is, other schools hype one athlete over the rest and advertise and lobby with sportswriters for their man. At Alabama, that’s not the norm.
With Cooper not having the same kind of year he had last year, who do you consider the best receiver on Alabama’s team?
Cooper is still a valuable cog in the wheel and he does his best work in big games and the Tide certainly has some big games yet to come. Therefore, he may end the year as the most valuable receiver on the team.
But he isn’t there yet.
The best receiver on the team, at least in my opinion is Kevin Norwood. When you have to have a first down or a touchdown Norwood seems to be the guy you can always count on.
But since we’re talking receivers, the thing that dumbfounds me is why we haven’t seen Chris Black. When I saw him in practice earlier in the year, he was clearly a world class guy that just needed some playing time. Is Saban “saving” him for when Cooper is gone?
But the best thing about Alabama’s receiving corps is not the depth they have, but the quality of that depth. No team in all of college football has so many receivers who are at this level. Some may have one or two, but Alabama goes five to six deep in players that would start at most other schools or considered to be top flight pass catchers.
You’ve not given Auburn much respect this year, is this just Auburn bias or do not feel they’re a top quality team?
You have to respect what Gus Malzahn has accomplished this year. Auburn no doubt has earned everything they’ve gotten this year and if you think that the Georgia game was just a lucky thing, that’s football. Don’t discount the fact that they made that play because they had put themselves in a position to win that game, that their receiver never gave up on the play and that it took a ton of concentration to pull in a pass that was deflected.
Coach Bryant once said, “Good teams put themselves in a position to be lucky”, and that explains that Auburn win to a T.
So yes, I respect Auburn as an improving team, yes, I do have a natural bias against them, but I don’t let it override my honest beliefs and knowledge.
But are they a top quality team? No.
They have the nation’s 73rd ranked defense and their opponents are averaging 407 yards of offense on them. Against SEC teams so far this year, they’re giving up 28 points a game.
Alabama has given up an average of less than 12 points a game to SEC opponents. Folks, that’s over two touchdowns a game difference. That’s sort of hard to overcome.
So are they a top class team? No.
You win in the end of the season with defense and Auburn won’t beat Alabama with this defense of theirs. They are a good SEC team that have come from being the worst team in the SEC to an upper team in the conference. But not top quality team in the nation and they will be exposed against a real top tier team in just a few weeks.
Larry is an award winning writer whose work has appeared in almost every college football venue. Now he primarily writes for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter