The book has closed on the Alabama Crimson Tide's 38-7 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs, and we have a new hat in the Heisman ring: Tide quarterback AJ McCarron. The junior has thrown for almost 1,700 yards, 18 touchdowns and, more importantly, no interceptions.
While candidates like Landry Jones, Geno Smith and Matt Barkley are crumbling, Alabama's signal-caller is slowly rising.
McCarron is having a stellar year guiding the Crimson Tide on their march toward a second consecutive national title. He's rising fast, and with a date in Baton Rouge next week, he'll have a shot to make his Heisman star shine brighter. If you're looking for a guy to tag as their Heisman candidate, look no further than the quarterback.
I mean, why wouldn't you? That's what the award for college football's Most Outstanding Player has become, hasn't it? An award that goes to the quarterback, or running back, on one of the nation's best teams.
It most certainly isn't an award that would consider D.J. Fluker, Barrett Jones or anyone else on the offensive line to be outstanding. Even though they are clearing the way for the nation's most punishing rushing attacks. Even though they are giving McCarron plenty of time to find his targets downfield.
Those guys can't be outstanding, because they don't have stats that go with the hard work they put in or the absolute punishment that they dish out on a game-to-game basis. Most folks don't know much about what it is offensive linemen do every play. They're just linemen. Linemen can't be outstanding.
Keep in mind, this is not a knock on McCarron. He's having a heck of a junior campaign. Nick Saban, at Alabama, has finally got a guy that has graduated from "game manager" to a legitimate field general out there. If there is an Alabama player to be inserted into the 2012 Heisman race, in the award's current climate, it is most certainly AJ McCarron.
However, if a guy like Barrett Jones can win the Outland, be an All-American, look to repeat again as an All-American, change positions and be a front-runner for the Rimington and still not be considered outstanding, then what does it all mean?
McCarron is going to gain traction, and if the Tide keep winning, he'll keep getting support. That's more eyes on the Alabama football team. More press for the quarterback and more fuel to the roaring Alabama BCS Championship fire; and that's always a good thing. But don't forget about those offensive linemen or the defensive players that help make things work for the Tide. Should AJ McCarron bring home that stiff-arming trophy, it'll be an award that's won by more than just him.