On December 12 of last year, Raymond Anthony McCarron Jr, shocked absolutely nobody in the college football landscape when he announced to the world that he would be back for his fifth and final season for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football program.
Four touchdown passes to go along with 264 yards through the air, gave him 30 on the 2012-13 season, marking an Alabama school record for a quarterback in a given season. McCarron became the first quarterback to win back-to-back consensus national championships in the BCS era. The 2013 crystal ball marked the third crown in his career at Alabama, one coming his redshirt freshman year in 2010.
Coming into this season, the last four Heisman trophy winners have been ones that have surprised the rest of the country including college football Joes. In 2013, it should be the obvious slam-dunk choice that everybody is leaving out, the best player on the best team, AJ McCarron.
In two years as the Alabama starter, McCarron has thrown for 46 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. McCarron has completed 67 percent of his passes and led the nation in passing efficiency in 2012. These numbers should pay dividends for him approaching the notorious award.
McCarron’s career numbers and records have given him a place at the table essentially to start the season. Braxton Miller, Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota seem like front-runners, but the truth of the matter, they will have to present a bigger argument than McCarron’s resume. Alabama is going undefeated for the first time since 2009 this season. McCarron has done it all, whether that’s beating two No. 1 teams in national championships or four touchdowns and no interceptions. Nobody can confuse him from brilliant.
Also, McCarron’s receivers are a step better this year, and provide even better compliments for him than last season. T.J. Yeldon returns to the running game, and Alabama will want to run the ball effectively. But when the time comes to air it out, McCarron has an unlimited collection of targets. Amari Cooper has the tools to be even better than Julio Jones, while Kenny Bell, DeAndrew White and Kevin Norwood give him three more options to target. White and Bell can really climb the rope. Freshman O.J Howard at tight end will be used time and time again much like Michael Williams and Brad Smelley. This presents a lot of firepower for McCarron not to be just as effective and administer excess numbers from a year ago.
Everybody will be tuned into CBS when Alabama-Texas A&M gets underway on Sept. 14. Everywhere you look, there will be storylines. If McCarron beats Johnny Manziel, by willing the Tide to victory or by playing a sound game, then that’s the lasting impression you get from the biggest game of 2013. Alabama fans would say just like Mark Ingram did it to Tim Tebow in the 2009 SEC Championship game. As long as Alabama is in contention nationally, then McCarron is still on the radar screen. McCarron could seal it off with a home winner over rival LSU. Playing at home for possibly the SEC West regular season title would cement his destiny in New York. It’s like the new cliché in college football; the games you remember are played in November and besides, America have always loved a winner.
McCarron’s Heisman campaign is simple. McCarron will do what he’s done from previous years as an Alabama starter but just do it a little bit better. It won’t be hard at all. McCarron closed last season, just under 3,000 yards, so improving on that won’t be difficult. Throwing for 3,000 yards really is the calling card to get anointed as a Heisman winner.
Every Alabama team reinvents themselves due to certain talents; this might be the year to open the playbook up for a quarterback instead of the old-fashioned running game. McCarron is a playmaker who simply makes plays in big games.