Thursday night, the Alabama Crimson Tide take on the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2014 Sugar Bowl in what should be a solid game. While Alabama is thought of as clearly the better team, Oklahoma’s defense has greatly improved in 2013. Heck, Alabama thought they would be fighting for a National Championship come this time of year, but nevertheless they are now a 1-loss team in the Sugar Bowl.
One of the interesting aspects of this game will be to see how quarterback AJ McCarron fares against a defense ranked 16th in the nation against the pass and 14th overall. A year ago, Oklahoma wasn’t anywhere close to those numbers but have come a long way this past season.
McCarron is thought to be either a late-first round pick or sure-fire second round pick in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. However, some pro scouts have guaranteed his first round status; one even comparing McCarron to the great Tom Brady.
“Good size, outstanding touch on all throws, can make all the throws but only has average arm strength. Average running ability but very good feet and movement in the pocket to avoid sacks. Outstanding progression-read quarterback, makes throws to his second and third reads consistently,” an AFC scout told told NFL.com’s Albert Breer.
“Doesn’t turn the ball over. Winner. Mentally tough. Has the moxie and cockiness most great QBs have. Very similar to Tom Brady in stature, athletic ability, arm strength, touch and the most important category — wins.”
While making great points about McCarron, he still has one game to go in order to solidify his draft stock and, possibly, cement a first-round status. Oklahoma is giving up an average of 198 passing yards per game, while McCarron has thrown for an average of 223.
One of the most impressive parts about McCarron is his efficiency. He’s only thrown five picks all season long, versus 26 touchdowns. Even more shocking is the amount of sacks he’s taken — 10. McCarron knows how to get rid of the football when he needs to, but doesn’t sacrifice making poor throws in order to do so.
Whether or not Alabama comes away with a win may have some impact on McCarron’s draft stock, but the most important thing is that he continues to play efficient football. I have a feeling if he wants to see his name called within the first 32 picks, McCarron will have to put up a huge night Thursday against the Sooners.
There was never any doubt when it came to naming the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner. Jameis Winston led a dominant Florida State Seminoles 2013 run to a perfect 13-0 record, an ACC title, and a berth in the BCS National Championship in Pasadena this January. His near flawless performance all season long made the decision simple for Heisman voters on Saturday night as they selected Winston in a landslide to join college football’s most prestigious club.
Winston set freshman records passing for 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns this season. In 13 games, he threw for 300 yards or more seven times and accounted for at least four touchdowns six times. He’s currently on pace to break the NCAA record for passer efficiency rating in a season (currently 190.1) and leads the nation in adjusted QBR (90.1) and yards per attempt (10.9). All of these gaudy stats came despite playing every snap in just three games this season as FSU regularly blew out their opponents, boasting a margin of victory of more than 40 points in 2013.
And that resulted in a landslide win in the Heisman voting for Winston. The FSU quarterback earned 2,208 points and was voted No. 1 on 668 of the 900 ballots submitted. AJ McCarron finished a very distant second, earning 704 points and being voted No. 1 on 79 ballots. It was the seventh largest margin of victory in Heisman history, despite Winston getting completely left off of 115 ballots which were likely submitted while the criminal investigation was still pending for the freshman quarterback. If those voters had included Winston, there’s no telling how big his margin of victory would have been.
Jameis Winston led the most dominant team in college football this season to a perfect season so it’s only fitting that he would dominate the Heisman Trophy race. Can he keep that dominance rolling for the rest of what should be a historically great collegiate career?