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NCAA Football Alabama Crimson Tide

5 Things Alabama’s A.J. McCarron Must Do to Stay in the Heisman Trophy Hunt

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Heisman Trophy Hunt: 5 Things A.J. McCarron Needs to Do

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Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 College Football season has already shown that it will be crazy this year. The main headline is Alabama trying to achieve the first three-peat in the BCS era, but quarterback A.J. McCarron is hoping he can add a Heisman Trophy to his national championship collection.

The incumbent Heisman Trophy winner, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, is having another great season. In two and a half games, the NCAA suspended him for the first half of the Aggies’ opening game, he has already totaled 12 touchdowns and 1,137 yards.

Manziel has already established himself as a frontrunner to receive this year’s Heisman Trophy. Some players are having great starts that are formidable threats to him winning it again.

One player who has gotten off to a great start is McCarron.

McCarron has earned a reputation as a very good quarterback on a great team. He has led the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record in games that he has started along with two BCS National Championships.

Last season, McCarron was phenomenal, throwing for 2,933 yards, 30 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He also had a rushing touchdown.

Despite those great statistics, he did not finish inside the top 10 in the 2012 Heisman voting.

This season, McCarron has a great chance of winning the Heisman because the Crimson Tide is not as good as last season. In two games, he has thrown for 444 yards, five touchdowns, and only one interception.

On Saturday, McCarron threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns en route to defeating Manziel and then sixth-ranked Aggies. McCarron needs to do five things to remain in the Heisman hunt.

Noah Weintraub is a Contributing Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @NoahWeintraub, join his Facebook group, or add him to your network on Google.

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No. 5: Let the Offense be 2-Dimensional

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Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY SPORTS

The best way for Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron to put up great numbers is by allowing the offense to have a balanced attack.

Last year, running back T.J. Yeldon had a very good season as the backup to Eddie Lacy. This year, Yeldon is the lead back.

McCarron needs to make sure the offense has a balanced attack, so defenses cannot key in on the run or pass game. The best way for him to do this is by allowing Yeldon to be explosive.

If McCarron is able to sustain the balanced attack, then he will find many holes in the secondary. This will allow him to remain in the Heisman Hunt for the rest of the season.

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No. 4: Dominate ‘Bad’ Teams

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama is scheduled to play against two more teams that are currently ranked in the AP Top 25 this season. This means that quarterback A.J. McCarron needs to make sure he dominates the ‘bad’ teams to remain in the Heisman hunt.

Last season’s Heisman Trophy winner, Texas A&M quarterback, Johnny Manziel was able to put together video game-like performances against ‘bad’ teams. In a game against eventual 4-8 Arkansas, he totaled 557 yards and four touchdowns.

A dominant performance like that against a bad team contributed to Manziel winning the Heisman.

The Crimson Tide will play two bad teams, Colorado St. and Georgia St., in the next three weeks. McCarron needs to make sure that he puts up statistics similar to Manziel against Arkansas to remain in the Heisman Hunt.

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No. 3: Avoid turnovers

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Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

A big deterrent to winning a Heisman Trophy is turnovers. Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron needs to try to keep his turnover total at a low number to remain in the Heisman hunt.

Turnovers can hurt a player’s Heisman chances because it limits the production that he can produce.

The Crimson Tide play in one of the toughest College Football conferences, the SEC. The SEC typically has teams with at least above average defenses.

If McCarron can finish conference play with very few turnovers it would look impressive to the voters. Also, it would lead to him putting up better numbers.

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No. 2: Very Good Performances Against AP Top 25 Teams

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Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama’ quarterback A.J. McCarron had an amazing performance en-route to defeating then sixth-ranked Texas A&M on Saturday. McCarron needs to make sure he has very good performances in his two other games against teams that are currently ranked in the AP Top 25.

On Saturday, McCarron threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Crimson Tide to a victory against the Aggies.

McCarron has to play 21st-ranked Ole Miss and sixth-ranked LSU this season. The Heisman voters appear to view a player more favorably when he has a great performance against a Top-25 team.

His performances in those two games will determine if he will remain in the Heisman Hunt.

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No. 1: Lead ‘Bama to an AP Top-10 Finish

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

There seems to be a running theme that a player on a great team has the greatest opportunity to win the Heisman Trophy. Alabama’ quarterback A.J. McCarron needs to lead his team to a top-10 AP final ranking to remain in the Heisman Hunt.

Of the last 16 Heisman winners, 13 of them played on teams that had a final AP ranking inside the top 10. The Crimson Tide has the most pressure of any team to finish inside the top 10 because they are the two-time defending BCS National Champions.

McCarron’s performance will make or break the Crimson Tide’s success this season. If he wants to remain in the Heisman hunt, then he needs to make sure his team finishes inside the top 10.