Heisman Watch: Don't Discount Alabama Crimson Tide Quarterback A.J. McCarron

By Lahari Subraveti

After No. 1 Alabama’s 38-17 win over No. 13 LSU, the Crimson Tide proved that they deserve to be the top ranked team in the country. But none of that would be possible without quarterback A.J. McCarron.

McCarron was 14-of-20 for 179 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Just like head coach Nick Saban has said repeatedly, McCarron has to be one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country. While 2012 Heisman winner Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston have all led in Heisman speculation, McCarron should be catapulted to one of the top spots with the win.

Oregon’s loss to Stanford on Thursday night of Week 11 exposed the weaknesses of Mariota to a national audience, who also suffered an MCL sprain. Oregon’s hopes of a national championship have faded and Mariota seemed visibly off throughout the game.

Manziel easily blew up his stats once again against Mississippi State, where he was 30-of-39 for 446 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions and added 47 yards rushing on 14 carries.

Winston helped lead the Seminoles to a 59-3 win over Wake Forest in Week 11, where he was 17-of-28 for 159 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

While Mariota, Manziel and Winston may be more exciting to watch, McCarron shouldn’t be overlooked.

In his four years with the Crimson Tide, McCarron has a record of 34-2 including two national championships in 2011 and 2012. With the Crimson Tide poised to reach the championship game again this season, McCarron has the rare opportunity to win three national championships in a row.

None of the other front-runners have even played in a national championship game, much less win. McCarron has been consistent, not just this year, but overall in his college career. This season, he is 145-of-209 for 1862 yards, 16 touchdowns and three interceptions overall, equaling a rating of 166.6.

While his rating is less than all of the other front-runners this season — Mariota: 173.4, Manziel: 185.0, Winston: 201.1 — McCarron has proved that he can lead a team. Just check out that wins column.

While the race seems to be contained to Winston and McCarron after Week 11, the rest of the season, including the possibility of an Alabama/Florida State national championship, will determine who will remain atop the Heisman standings.

Lahari Subraveti is an SEC Football and NFL writer for Rant Sports.  Follow her on Twitter: @Lahari_S.

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