Tag Archives: AJ McCarron

Monday Morning Breeze: The Revolution Will Be Caught One-Handed

[(MOST IMPORTANT NOTE: The Breeze will recap CFB’s Alabama-Clemson National Championship game on Tuesday, so this will be Professional Football-heavy, or College-Deflated, depending how you choose to see the glass re: -imisms) It’s near impossible to miss the unfolding humor in a reality that pits America’s Most Traditionally Revered NFL team against the steaming pile of toxic that has been Daniel Snyder’s Washington Trumps, in D.C., for a wild-card playoff game.

When you add the fact that a prominent Packer player is named “Ha Ha Clinton-Dix” while Hillary stumps for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination, I mean, clearly Fate’s got a warped thing for the wickedly absurd. So what could prepare us for an NFL Wild-card weekend that lived up to its name? Where Ace Ventura jokes became re-relevant (“laces out”) making my heart gently weep for Minnesota’s Blair Walsh Project, where it seems everyone wants to be like ODB Jr whether it’s receivers vying for his “Best Ever Catch ‘Til Tomorrow” crown, or Vontaze’s Burfict crime-ing for his “Grossest Cheap Shot” frown, where all he does is Russell Wilson Seattle to wins (or perhaps Faith’s wind), while the Bengals missed Double-Deuce Dalton more than the time it takes to restore sore thumbs, Pack Nation slumbers well ’cause Aaron Rodgers remembered how to kinda throw again, some.

To playoff football let’s succumb. Enter to the beating drum of your heart’s hum and maybe find fun…

NFL PLAYOFFS PORTION OF THE PROGRAM

NFL Playoffs Games of the Week (Wild-card Round) Kansas City Chiefs 30 @ Houston Texans 0 So it was, ho hum, on the very first kickoff of the very first ho hum playoff game KNILE DAVIS EXPLODES THROUGH A MASSIVE HOLE AND ho hum RETURNS IT ONE-HUNDRED AND SIX FREAKING YARDS FOR THE TD. Houston was never really close on the majority of this play or for the rest of the game as Kansas City would never relinquish that lead, with the helpful, steady hand of Alex Smith leading the way and the woefully unsteady hand of Bryan Hoyer (4 picks, yikes!) leaving the Texans exposed like a butterfly filet of poor play.

Jon Gruden quote of the day: “JJ Watt’s battling a bad groin injury.” Look, Watt’s an incredible player, but even he can’t fight a Kansas City O-line AND tangle with one of those “bad groin injury” things at the same time.

Pittsburgh Steelers 18 @ Cincinnati Bengals 16 An enchanting, angry contest. Part 1 of “Insane Catches by Incredible Wideouts,” and Vontaze’s Rage. This story told with the help of Vine’s visuality. We’ll start with the uglier portions of the game and finish with the beauty of Martavis’ gorgeous holy-roller TD catch. In all, it seems Andy Dalton will still get blamed for another 1st round exit, even though he wasn’t playing. We begin with one Vontaze Burfict losing his famously hot-tempered mind, producing a near clone of the ODB Jr. cheap-ass headshot, this time on Antonio Brown…

..but “Oh by the way” Burfict was way more egregious, disgusting, with this cheap headshot on Maxx Williams in a previous game versus the Ravens. Careful, it’s disturbing…

https://vine.co/v/iMWPBbFYELr

…and continuing the ugly parade, Pittsburgh ASSISTANT COACH Mike Munchak, yes, a coach, ripping some of Reggie Nelson’s dreads, rightfully pissing him right off…

…but thank all that’s True and Right in the world for Martavis Bryant’s incredible athleticism, focus, and brilliance all on display on this catch in the 3rd quarter, possibly trumping Beckham’s one-handed stab heard ’round the world…

Seattle Seahawks 10 @ Minnesota Vikings 9 This game will forever be remembered (by me) as “The Blair Walsh Project,” but it also included Part 2 of “Incredible Catches by Amazing Wideouts” and one of the more unlikely turning-point plays in recent history. First off, it looked cold as freezer burn in Minn-eh-sot-ah, -3 degrees for much of the game, with breath bursting from the entire stadium’s mouths like 80,000 proud vapers.

While their defense was its usual stout self, Seattle came out slightly resembling a steaming crater of ineptitude on offense. Then the play below happened, which appears to foreshadow more terror for Wilson and the ‘Hawks offense. Except he’s Macklemore uncommonly composed Russ Wilson, even in the face of certain peril, proving once again on this play why he’s so valuable to Mr. Pete Carroll and the ‘Hawks. For a little forced imagination, think of how 99.9% of the time the QB/center shotgun exchange is botched like this it results in, at best, a sack.

Instead, picture this reality where Wilson recovers smoothly, calmly baseball slides, retrieving the ball and springing back up in one swift motion, rolls away from oncoming defenders, looks downfield and fires a strike to a wide-open Tyler Lockett for the game-changing play. Seattle would go on to a TD and huge momentum swing, injecting life into their moribund offense and turning the tides of what was shaping up to be a certain Viking victory.

Yeah, I believe in momentum, F Nate Silver on this topic, and this was a huge swing in a game largely dictated by field position.

…then Adrian Peterson fumbles on the ensuing Viking possession, and SEA recovers with 10:30 left in the 4th.

…oh by the way Doug Baldwin becomes a bent Beckham-like wizard and makes this incredible one-hander…

…although Chase Coffman proves there should be some kinda permit receivers have to earn to attempt one-handed catch, like a driver’s license, ’cause he tries to be like Doug B. but instead makes an interception so easy…

Trailing Seattle 10-9 very late in the 4th quarter, Kyle Rudolph beat Kam Chancellor in man coverage for a huge first down catch (vindication for Chancellor getting away with a clear hold on Rudolph earlier), putting the Vikings in money-FG position for the certain game-winner. It was a kick that 99.6% of the time would’ve been a Blair Walsh layup 3-pointer. In a kinder, gentler reality Walsh nails the kick, the Vikings win, slay the 2-time Super Bowl Seahawks and move on to the next round.

In this harsher, cruel, coooold reality Walsh shanks the kick so badly left of the uprights, like a boomerang that didn’t go where it was supposed to and never came back, allowing America to brush the 8-inch thick dust off every Scott Norwood and Ace Ventura joke no longer forgotten to mankind. I understand Walsh is a professional, paid a ton of money to make that kick. He has to make that kick. But damn, I just feel bad for him.

Green Bay Packers 35 @ Washington Cousins/Trumps 18
This game started with a bizarre “DeSean Jackson scores but doesn’t” on a catch and run where he crossed the goal line near the pylon but crossed too far and stepped first out of bounds while holding the ball back pre-goal line. Green Bay went on to hold Washington to a field goal and early momentum. However, Green Bay’s offense was dormant for much of the first half until Aaron Rodgers started hooking up hardcore with Davante Adams and James Jones (don’t worry, Olivia Munn) and headed into halftime up 17-11 after giving up a safety.

In the second half, the Packers could not cover Washington’s Jordan Reed, who played incredibly (9 catches, 120 yards) with Kirk Cousins putting the Washingtons up 18-17 with a QB run. As the second half wore on though, Green Bay wrested control away, shutting down Washington’s attack, pounding Washington’s D with a steady diet of Lacy and Starks, and squeezing just enough juice out of A-Rod’s recovering air raid to coast comfortably into the next round. Kirk Cousins and the Washingtons were kinda like Leo here, at the Golden Globes: they won their division, had home-field against the Pack, everyone was lauding them for pulling through the RGIII fiasco.

They’re laughing, they’re having a good time, sitting nearer the top than they’ve been in a while. Meanwhile Rodgers and the Pack were like Lady Gaga: they just hadn’t looked like their typically dangerous self after blazing to a 6-0 start to the season before dropping 4 of their next 5 and finishing 2nd in the NFC North.

But oh, never forget about the beautiful power of Aaron Rodgers and the Pack, as they approach laughing Leo/Washington all the way from the forgotten back, shimmering the entire way as they (purposefully?) knock the Snyder’s over-extended elbow out of the way, smirking a triumphant return to the next round with a future full of promise, leaving Leo and the Snyders meekly grimacing in their wake.

https://vine.co/v/iMApWTgWgvL

THIS WEEK’S SIGN SOMETHING’S ASKEW IN THE WORLD

https://vine.co/v/iMm2OdgxwAK

Selfishly Sprayed Tweets Peak at Past Week

What’s Up With Jeremy Johnson?

The status quo for the SEC used to be winning games with a hard-hitting defense (you know, that thing that “wins” championships) and scoring just enough points to get by week by week. The status quo slowly changed into somewhat of a primary offensive league with top tier quarterbacks escalating expectations for the conference’s offensive production with more spread schemes and aerial attacks. Having recent quarterbacks with the caliber of Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron, Johnny Manziel, Nick Marshall, and Zach Mettenberger SEC fans were spoiled with productive and potent quarterback play and this season feel naked not having at least two to three players behind center that they can hang their hat on.

Now before I tend to go off on a tangent and start ranting/venting it is week three and most coaches will tell you that the transition of week two to week three is when you figure out where your team is and what they can be capable of going forward. The disappointment of poor quarterback play comes mostly from preseason media overhyping players in a way to say, “I told you so!” when that passer becomes an all-conference performer at season’s end.

Just on the topic of preseason rankings and why not to put all your coins in them can be a full article on its own, but here more focus will be attributed to the underwhelming play of quarterbacks and how the extraneous predictions put an unfair and ridiculous amount of pressure to perform and excel immediately with style points.

This week’s focus: Auburn’s Jeremy Johnson.

There’s no sugar coating Johnson’s first two performances. They weren’t very good. His decision-making has been very poor by continuing to throw into congested areas with two to three defenders in his line of vision. He has not looked anything like the player we witnessed a year ago as backup to Nick Marshall and has yet to even show consistent glimpses of that superstar status many built him up to be this preseason.

Is all hope lost? No.

Jeremy Johnson still has that potential to become that gamer he was projected to be for the Tigers. I think.

I never try to criticize coaching because I feel I am in no way in that position to judge, but I think I feel comfortable enough to at least tweak some of the schemes teams are running for the better of their team. Seeing Johnson as this pocket passer in a run heavy offense, the Auburn coaching staff has embraced that by giving Johnson diverse and complex routes to deal with. What happened to easing the quarterback in to get comfortable?

Louisville was a good example of that forcing Johnson to make big throws early putting even more pressure on him to make something happen. Last week versus Jacksonville State the play calling paved way for Johnson to get comfortable running early screen passes and short slants with out plays and nothing over ten to fifteen yards. It worked well for a while, but there is only so much coaches can do from the sideline. Johnson continued to make boneheaded errors that almost led to a potential historic loss in college football history.

So before the questions get asked, no I am not blaming the coaching staff for Johnson’s constant errors. Heck, why would I criticize a play caller that coached Cam Newton to a Heisman and national championship in 2010 and Nick Marshall running one of the best zone-read options we have ever witnessed? And let’s not forget the transformation of a very mediocre Chris Todd in 2009 going from a 55% completion percentage 903 yard with a 5-6 ratio 2008 campaign to a 60% completion percentage 2,612 yard 22-6 ratio 2009 season with an Outback Bowl victory.

It’s Johnson’s problem(s) to fix and he knows he is one of the reasons to point fingers at for a couple of close calls early in the Tigers’ season, but his confidence is not shot as he knows he can’t hang his head on a few bad throws heading into a tough defense in LSU.

When asked about LSU: “I have to be mentally ready.” (al.com)

Johnson has taken a trip to LSU before though not playing, so he knows the atmosphere that is awaiting him in Death Valley and knows what to expect from a fast and physical defense that will have his number on Saturday.

(Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics)
(Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics)

My advice or my game plan with Johnson is to take baby steps and take what the defense is giving him. That sounds too simple, but simple is the best strategy for Johnson and the Tigers this weekend. Slowly implementing Johnson into the game Saturday is Auburn’s best option to find success. Johnson and the Tigers know they need to start off fast but efficiency is what should be the goal initially.

The monstrous expectations Johnson received this preseason have hung with fans all over college football and it’s easy to look down on a quarterback that has underachieved mightily in his first two starts this season. The expectations come from Johnson’s skill set being a physical specimen in a Gus Malzahn offense with the ability to be mobile in the pocket (have yet to see that) and possessing a strong-arm. It’s the mental game that analysts overlooked this preseason. Which is probably the most important attribute to a quarterback’s game.

It’s simple, right?

Johnson fixes his errors and Auburn is “on to victory!”

Maybe it is that simple.

Maybe it is not.

Trying to fix mental errors in a quarterback’s game, internally or advising from the sidelines, is not something that can be changed overnight or even within six to seven days.

So with all that said I cannot decipher if Johnson fixes his issues and becomes that elite quarterback we have expected to see and get the chance to say “FINALLY!” or “What took so long?”

Because he may not.

That’s just football.

Alabama Quarterback Battle

 
With the start of the 2014 College football season in site, one question for Alabama fans still remains unanswered, who will be the starting quarterback?  While many believe the Florida State transfer Jacob Coker has the spot, head coach Nick Saban hasn’t written anything in stone….yet.
 
CokerSix-foot-five, 225 pound quarterback Jacob Coker has been raising eyebrows in Tuscaloosa for most of the summer and has Crimson Tide fans believing that he will be taking the snaps come fall, but Nick Saban isn’t quite ready to give him the starting spot. Coker will have to compete with fifth year senior Blake Sims for the role as starting quarterback. Sims spent most of his time at Alabama tailing former quarterback Aj McCarron, while Coker was back up to Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, before transferring in the spring. Coker has an advantage over Sims with his size, strength, and knowledge, but Sims has been at Alabama for four years and knows the system.
 
Saban was asked multiple questions about the quarterback controversy at SEC media day, but never seemed to give a straight answer. Saban talked about Blake Sims performance in the spring game saying, “Blake Sims did a great job in the spring . He didn’t have a great spring game, but we didn’t really do the things that he could do.” Saban also said,” This is an open competition, and Coker is going to get every opportunity to win the job.”
sabanblake sims
It’s been a while since Alabama has seen an unfamiliar face at quarterback. As AJ McCarron heads to the NFL he leaves big boots to fill, and Saban doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to name who is going to fill them.

Look At The Numbers : Top 25 QB's of the BCS Era

QB
The BCS era is over, whether we like it or not. It’s now time for the College Football Playoff to take over the college football world of ours. But, before we move on from the era, lets take a look back at the most important position over that time, the quarterback. In the 16 year span of the BCS, we saw 11 different quarterbacks take home the Heisman Trophy. We also saw countless others fall just short of winning one, just because the position was that deep. With all of the talent, it’s only right to start an argument and try to decide the top 25 QB’s of the BCS Era.
But, before you go off shouting about your favorite teams’ star quarterback from 2002, you should probably take a look at the numbers. After all, numbers never lie (aside from Air Raid offenses).
*Every quarterback who played at least two seasons in the BCS era are eligible, which means Jameis Winston and Michael Bishop weren’t eligible.
Now here comes the complicated system that I came up with based entirely on statistics. Ready? Okay. I took 35 noticeable quarterbacks from the BCS Era, ones that stand out above the rest. People like Geno Smith, Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow, Andy Dalton, etc. Then I took a lo-o-o-ong list of statistics from passing touchdowns to winning percentage to rushing yards. You could say it took me a while as well. After I acquired all of this information, I gave the quarterbacks points for where they ranked on each statistic.
EX: If a QB was the 10th ranked in total yards and first in total touchdowns, then he would get 25 points and the 9th spot would get 26 and so on. Except I went threw and did that for six key stats I look at when deciding.

  • Passing touchdowns per start
  • Passing yards per start
  • Winning percentage as a starter
  • Average # of wins per season
  • Rushing touchdowns per start
  • Interception per start (The lowest ratio was awarded the most points)

The purpose of this was to make it as balanced as possible, so a system pocket-passer type quarterback would benefit from passing yards and passing touchdowns, a winning quarterback would be rewarded twice for their efforts, and a running quarterback would benefit from the interception ratio and rushing touchdowns. So in other words, Graham Harrell is balanced with A.J. McCarron, while McCarron is balanced with Eric Crouch, and Crouch has the same benefits that Harrell has. This way, we could determine which quarterback is the best at what they do. After assigning points to all 34 players, I then rewarded additional points for the following :

  • Heisman Winner
  • Heisman Finalist
  • 1st Team All-American
  • 2nd Team All-American
  • 1st Conference All-American
  • Maxwell and the Davey O’Brien awards
  • BCS National Championship wins/losses
  • BCS Game wins and losses
  • Being from an AQ Conference awarded you five extra points, as an award for SOS

After processing all of that (only six hours or so), I found the top 25 quarterbacks of the BCS. Let me tell you I now appreciate those BCS computer-geeks a little more now. Because even after all the time I spent, the system is still flawed. But it’s more than enough to get us through the offseason isn’t it? We start off with honorable mentions (30-26), featuring a Georgia QB just shy of making a BCS Championship and a Heisman Trophy winner.
30. Aaron Murray, Georgia (2010-13)-  116 points I figured Murray would be a lot higher, but his interceptions and winning statistics hurt him here.
aaron-murray
29. Landry Jones, Oklahoma (2009-13)- 117 points
28. Geno Smith, West Virginia (2009-12)- 122 points
27. Eric Crouch, Nebraska (1999-02)- 126 points First Heisman winner on the list for the quarterback who ranked near last in every passing statistic.
26. Braxton Miller, Ohio State (2011-15)- 130 points Another year in the BCS and Miller certainly could of soared higher. Now for the top 25 quarterbacks of the BCS Era :
25. Graham Harrell, Texas Tech (2006-08)- 131 points The air-raid quarterback most famous for his miraculous 2008 season edged Miller by one point.
Harrell
23. Josh Heupel, Oklahoma (1999-01)- 133 points The 2000 National Championship helped Heupel reach the top 25.
23. Robert Griffin III, Baylor (2009-13)- 133 points RG3 tied Heupel, as his first three years at Baylor didn’t do to well in the winning category.
22. Case Keenum Houston (2006-11)- 134 points The only quarterback in NCAA history to pass over 5,000 yards in three seasons, Keenum was up top in the passing touchdowns and yards categories. His interception ratio is what hurt him the most.
21. Greg McElroy, Alabama (2007-10)- 136 points
20. Colt Brennan, Hawaii (2005-08)- 137 points
colt-brennan-hawaii
19. Collin Klein, Kansas State (2009-12)- 139 points Apparently he can Eric Crouch it better than Eric Crouch can.
18. Andy Dalton, TCU (2007-10)- 141 points
17. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State (2009-12)- 144 points
16. Troy Smith, Ohio State (2005-08)- 163 points Really big jump here, you start to see bigger names and award winners from here on out.
15. Andrew Luck, Stanford (2009-12)- 167 points
Luck
14. Marcus Mariota, Oregon (2011-15)- 173 points A winner who can pass and run. Mariota might be one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the era.
13. Chris Weinke, Florida State (1998-00)- 174 points
12. A.J. McCarron, Alabama (2011-14)- 183 points A game manager is 12th on a statistics based points system? Something isn’t right.
11. Michael Vick, Virginia Tech (1999-01)- 190 points
10. Vince Young, Texas (2003-06)- 191 points I should of spotted Young 20 points for his epic-ness in the 2006 BCS performance at the Rose Bowl.
dallas_g_young_800
9. Colt McCoy, Texas (2007-11)- 192 points The Longhorns come in at #9 and #10 in this list.
8. Ken Dorsey, Miami FL (00-03)- 196 points W-I-N-N-E-R
7. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (2011-12)- 199 points Hey I’m a huge Manziel fan but even I was surprised he was this high up on the list.
6. Kellen Moore, Boise State (2007-11)- 206 points I didn’t think Moore would be this high either. Oh well, he won a lot of games and threw a lot of touchdowns so he earned it.
5. Cam Newton, Auburn (2010-11)- 215 points One year was all Cam needed to sky rocket on the list for 215 points.
110210-CFB-Auburn-Cam-Newton-PI_20101102200755_660_320
4. Tim Tebow, Florida (2006-10)- 216 points A winner who’s freshmen statistics as a back up hurt him from taking the top spot. Hey don’t blame me it’s not my system! Okay you got me.
nfl_u_tebow_576
3. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (2007-09)- 219 points Could have taken the top spot if he had won any of the BCS games he played in.
Sam Bradford
2. Jason White, Oklahoma (2000-05)- 221 points See #3
2003-jason-white
1. Matt Leinart, USC (2003-06)- 244 points In a rather shockingly landslide victory, Leinart takes the top spot by 23 points over Jason White, which almost brings me back to the 2005 Orange Bowl. A winner and a passer who also earned style points with his awards and championships, Leinart earned the top spot and it will be his to keep forever as the best quarterback in the BCS Era. Hope you enjoyed the list and the article all together.
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For the complete statistics and points system, click the links below.
Extra Points Statistics Rankings Players Information

Graduation Day: Murray and McCarron

I want to say farewell to two players fittingly drafted back to back in the NFL draft: Aaron Murray and AJ McCarron. Aaron Murray, because he was a remarkably talented, underappreciated, snake bitten super star, and AJ McCarron, because he was a leeching tapeworm that got way too much credit for doing nothing at all.

For four exciting, bountiful, but ultimately unfulfilling years, Aaron Murray slugged through the SEC East while enduring beating akin to a mugging in a dark alley game after game. This dude backpacked the team like the good player on a bad Call of Duty team and never got any credit as he was always overshadowed by Cam Newton, Johnny Football, and Mr. Katherine Webb. Murray did so much for his team, got splattered more times than a Mortal Kombat character, and has nothing to show for it. He lost back to back SEC Championships in both of the most devastating ways you can possibly lose game. Georgia was crushed by LSU by 32 points in 2011. Getting boat raced in a climactic championship game is among the biggest disappointments an athlete can ever feel, only second to falling a single play short of victory; which is what happened to Georgia in the 2012 SEC Championship game, when they came 5 yards short of a berth in the national championship game guaranteed win over Notre Dame. Mere minutes after leading a 21 point comeback to take the lead against Auburn, he was victimized by the Prayer at Jordan Hare, a play that had a .000000003 chance of happening. His face just said “All that, only to be stricken down by God???” I’m a Florida fan, and even I found myself rooting for Murray against the Gators because I liked him so much, and I wanted Will Muschamp to get fired. After slogging through a disappointing season in which Todd Gurley was knocked out for 3 games and they lost 2 of the 3. He then unceremoniously tore his ACL on his senior night which pretty much completes the Shakespearean tragedy that was his career. Murray’s career sort of mirrors Colt McCoy’s. Spectacular careers, but always a bridesmaid, and never the bride. Even McCoy’s dead arm injury in the national championship game brings to mind Murray’s season ending ACL tear. Not coincidentally, both gutsy quarterbacks were felled by the same team that happened to be “led” for the last 3 years by some guy who Katherine Webb is engaged to.

As we’ve learned from the entire Nick Saban era, Alabama quarterbacks are completely and totally replaceable. If you took the names off the jerseys of John Parker Wilson, Greg McElroy, and AJ McCarron, you could literally not tell who is who, provided, McElroy’s ginger hair doesn’t pop out of the helmet. They are all exactly the same and have the exact same playing ability. Alabama is such a well oiled machine I think I could be a serviceable quarterback in that system. I’m 5’7’’ 155 pounds, and I honestly believe I could quarterback Alabama to 4 wins in the SEC. That is not exaggeration, that is how little responsibility I think the Alabama quarterback has. Compared to gun slinging one man armies that were Tebow, Cam Newton, and Johnny Football, AJ McCarron is a slow footed, weak armed, system qb whose only responsibility is to not thow picks. Here is AJ Mcworthless’ typical game day: hand off, hand off, hand off, play action, get laid with a super model. It’s really that simple. Here’s Aaron Murray’s typical game day: get sacked, get late hit, take a shot to the back, scramble for 20 yards and throw an amazing touchdown pass while getting sandwiched by 2 300 pound guys, watch your defense give up 40 points in the loss, then nurse all your injuries and don’t get laid. Aaron Murray loses while doing EVERYTHING, and AJ McCarron wins while doing nothing. There is nothing more annoying than watching a player get credit and glory for just riding the wave. It’s like Tom Brady during his 3

championships before he actually became good. Any neutral observer can clearly see that AJ McScreenpass expertly hands off to first round running backs in a way Johnny Football never could. That screen pass to Yeldon to beat LSU in 2012 was exquisite and masterful. No one else could do that. Obviously, the guy has done well for himself and has no qualms about meeting beauty pageant winning Auburn graduates on Twitter, so I’ll cut this guy some slack and say this: the dude is really handsome. He’s not Tebow or Cam handsome, but he super tall, and has an adorable baby face that’s pretty irresistible. So aside from winning two national championships, having a swimsuit model fiancé, and getting drafted into the NFL, this guy has charming good looks too. But you know what? Eff this guy and his perfect life. I almost cancelled my subscription to Sports Illustrated when they made him their cover story suggesting that he was one of the best ever. Just the fact that he was given a cover when he’s the 4 or 5th or even 6th best quarterback in the conference is just laughable. Watching him get smoked by a redshirt freshman in the Sugar Bowl who is 10x as talented as he is was the most satisfying game I’ve ever watched, even more so than the Gators’ national championship wins. He stood helplessly in the pocket and had his last college play be a strip sack scoop and scoreand the rest of the SEC was very happy with the Bama fans reactions. Maybe I’m too hard on AJ. He did everything that was asked him of and by all accounts is a good dude. His biggest sins are playing for a coach that is evil incarnate, and having an execrable chest tattoo.

Thankfully, we’re not going to have to worry about hearing AJ’s name anytime soon, so at least we have that. But the last 3 years of undeserving adoration AJ got, while Murray floundered in the periphery has put me firmly in the camp of supporting this overworked, mangled, corpse of a quarterback. As for AJ McBabyface, he actually has a chance of supplanting Dalton on the account of Dalton being the boring incumbent that nobody really likes. I can’t wait to watch the loaded Bengals with AJ bottlenecking it like a bad wireless router get torn to pieces by a bad Browns roster with JFF.

The Campus Corner: The Heisman Race, Compared to Jameis

Earlier this season, I wrote a Campus Corner that specifically lobbied for Jameis Winston as the Heisman front-runner.

At that early juncture, however, it was very much a prediction rather than a fact-based analyzation of the Heisman race.

With 12 weeks under the proverbial belt of college football, the aforementioned Heisman race is much more clear. The frontrunner, however, has stayed the same.

Jameis Winston has done nothing to take himself out of the front spot in the chase for college football’s most legendary trophy.

In fact, the majority of his numbers have come in just two quarters as opposed to a full game.

Thus far, Winston has thrown for 2,938 yards, 28 touchdowns and only seven interceptions, while completing 185 of his 261 pass attempts.

These statistics are the gold standard as far as the Heisman race goes, so I wondered if I couldn’t compare the other contenders to Jameis and see how they stack up.

Let’s start with last year’s winner, Johnny Manziel.

Johnny Football has thrown for 375 more yards, three more touchdowns and four more interceptions than Jameis. He’s done so, however, on 54 more attempts.

If Jameis had 54 more attempts to his name, his numbers would certainly be above those of Mr. Manziel’s. Plus, Johnny Football has two more losses than Winston’s FSU team.

Johnny Football is close, but unfortunately, there’s no cigar.

Then we move to Mr. Marcus Mariota, who has seemingly been dropped from all consideration after Oregon’s loss to Stanford.

Mariota, however, should never be forgotten. He’s had an absolutely incredible year.

Compared to Winston, Mariota has thrown for 119 less yards and three less touchdowns on 25 more pass attempts, but has also not tossed a single interception in 2013. That last number is certainly an impressive one, despite Mariota’s lesser numbers.

Ultimately, however, I don’t know if the lack of an interception can make up for Mariota’s less-than-comparable numbers. Ultimately, had he not lost to Stanford, Mariota would have certainly made a brilliant case to win the Heisman Trophy.

We then take a trip down south to Alabama to check in on AJ McCarron.

For some reason, everyone is talking about McCarron as a Heisman contenders. Maybe after they check the numbers, they’ll intelligently change their minds.

McCarron has exactly as many attempts as Winston on the season, has completed eight less passes, thrown for 710 less yards, seven less touchdowns and has tossed two less interceptions.

Clearly, Mr. McCarron does not have a case compared to these other titans of the college football passing game. It’s easiest to compare McCarron and Winston thanks to their identical pass-attempt numbers and it’s easiest to see how McCarron does not stack up to Winston, despite the fact that neither has lost a game yet.

Finally, we take a look at the long shot in Waco, Texas- Mr. Bryce Petty.

While Baylor may have the most impressive offense in college football, is Mr. Petty the most impressive player and is he worthy of college football’s most impressive award?

Let’s take a look.

Petty has attempted 28 less passes than Jameis Winston, but has thrown for 58 more yards, four less touchdowns and six less interceptions. Like Winston, Petty is undefeated and has put his team in the midst of the National Championship hunt, making the “team” argument null and void.

Ultimately, Petty should be right behind, if not next to, Winston in the Heisman Chase.

While Baylor is known for its high octane offense and has a formidable rushing attack, voters should not be swayed by the big offenses of the West Coast. If not for Petty, this offense may not be anywhere near the level at which it currently runs.

Petty has been, in many ways, just as good as Winston, if not better. While he may not have the completion percentage of Winston, he’s put up more yards on less attempts and has only thrown a single interception thus far this season.

All the while, as I said earlier, the Baylor Bears are undefeated and looking to contend for a National Championship.

Unfortunately for Petty, tough tasks await as Winston’s Noles will have a cakewalk the rest of the way.

Winston and his favorable schedule down the stretch are going win him the Heisman Trophy, but Bryce Petty should certainly be the second vote getter.

Anything else, frankly, would be a bit of a sham.

The Campus Corner: The Best Quarterbacks in a Great Weekend of Football

Starting tomorrow night, a litany of top 25 head-to-head’s will be taking place, reshaping the landscape of college football.

Baylor and Oklahoma start it off Thursday at 7:30, Oregon and Stanford keep it going at 9:00 and LSU and Alabama finish it off on Saturday night at 8:00.

As these are some of the best teams college football has to offer, they all have a common thread: great quarterback play.

Just who is the best of these three match-ups?

I’ll break it down right here, starting with Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty.

In his junior season, but just his first as a starter, Bryce Petty is leading one of the nation’s top offensive attacks. He’s completed 122 of his 176 pass attempts for a whopping 2,453 yards and 18 touchdowns, with just one interception. He’s also run for a touchdown in all-but-one game this season, accounting for six on the season.

Mind you, Baylor’s blowouts have forced Petty out of many quarters. He’s putting up these numbers in around three quarters per contest.

This weekend, Petty will be facing the Oklahoma Sooners and their quarterback Blake Bell, who is having a much different campaign.

“The Belldozer” as he’s been called, didn’t start the season as Oklahoma’s starter. He threw just six passes in the first two games before getting the call for a week three battle with Tulsa.

Since taking the reigns, Bell has been brilliant, completing 113 of 177 passes for 1348 yards and ten touchdowns with three interceptions. While Bell hasn’t been as good as his Baylor counterpart, Bell will look to lead the Sooners into Waco and emerge with a W against college football’s third-ranked offense.

Then there’s the battle in Palo Alto featuring a Heisman front-runner.

Marcus Mariota, the quarterback of the Oregon Ducks, is having a memorable sophomore season while helping the Ducks to compete for the rank of the top offense in college football. Currently ranked number two, the Ducks have accounted for 5,057 yards, much of which have come thanks to Mr. Mariota.

This season, Mariota has completed 144 of his 225 passing attempts for 2,281 yards and 20 touchdowns. Interceptions, you ask? He hasn’t thrown one yet. How’s that for efficiency. Meanwhile, as you marvel at his passing numbers, his rushing stats are extraordinary as well. On just 56 carries, Mariota has rushed for 511 yards and nine touchdowns. In total, Mariota has accounted for over half of Oregon’s total yardage and has more yardage individually than 15 teams in the country.

His hands will be full on Thursday night, however, as the Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal in a top-5 matchup.

Leading the Stanford offense is none other than sophomore Kevin Hogan, who has regressed from year one to year two.

Last season, Hogan completed 109 of his 152 pass attempts for 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns with three interceptions. With 25 more attempts this season, Hogan has completed one less pass for 1,493 yards and 13 touchdowns with five interceptions.

While the Stanford offense might be known more for their running game, Hogan has become a bit of a game manager. Some weeks he’s been more, some weeks he’s been less.

Take, for instance, his performance against Washington State. Hogan completed 16 of his 25 attempts for 286 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception. Clearly, he took control of the offense and put the game in his hands. However, there was last week’s battle against Oregon State, when Hogan completed eight of 18 attempts for 88 yards without a touchdown or interception.

If Stanford is going to beat Oregon, Hogan is going to need to play like the former, rather than the latter, version of himself.

Finally, the all-too-hyped SEC matchup on Saturday night between Alabama and LSU features some of the best quarterbacks in America’s premier conference.

First of all, there’s AJ McCarron, who has been incredibly under-appreciated despite his incredible performance throughout his career.

In this, his senior season, McCarron has completed 69.4% of his passes for 1,862 yards and 16 touchdowns. His QB-Rating this season his higher than it was last year- a year in which he threw for 2,933 yards, 30 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

Aside from a mind-bogglingly bad game against Virginia Tech to start off the year, McCarron has thrown for over 150 yards in each game this season and over 250 yards four times.

What’s been most impressive about McCarron, however, isn’t the passing numbers, rather, it’s his improvement in getting rid of the football.

Last year, McCarron was sacked 22 times, despite his brilliant campaign. This year, he’s been sacked just seven times.

As McCarron keeps the status quo with the Tide on top of the college football world, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger has actually put up better numbers than the two-time National Champion.

LSU’s offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, formerly of the NFL ranks, has helped Mettenberger to finally reach his peak as a senior in Death Valley.

While the Tigers have lost two games this season, Mettenberger hasn’t been truly awful yet- something that we’ve seen increasingly over the past couple of seasons.

Thus far, Mettenberger has completed 65.4% of his passes for 2,492 yards and 19 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. Just once this season, Mettenberger has thrown for less than 200 yards and has eclipsed the 250 mark in seven games.

He’s also thrown for over 300 yards three times, including 372 in a loss to Georgia, 342 in a win over Mississippi State and 328 in a win over Furman of the FCS.

Why isn’t Mettenberger getting any hype?

He’s lost twice. It’s as simple as that. Should the Tigers be undefeated, Mettenberger would be getting tremendous Heisman talk. Unfortunately, his defense hasn’t been great and has cost LSU a chance to meet Alabama in a clash of the undefeated foes.

So of these three match-ups, who is the best?

It’s still Mariota, if only because of his dual-threat nature and his lack of an interception yet this season.

However, Mettenberger isn’t lurking far behind, nor is Bryce Petty.

McCarron’s having a down year but all the man does is win. The other two, Bell and Hogan, well, they’ve had their ups and downs. That doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t give their teams the push they need to take down their respective quarterbacks. At the end of the day, these guys are very good.

So, in these weekend match-ups, I would rank the quarterbacks as follows:

  1. Marcus Mariota
  2. Zach Mettenberger
  3. AJ McCarron
  4. Bryce Petty
  5. Blake Bell
  6. Kevin Hogan

Really though, the winner is the viewing public… aka, us.

We’re going to see some tremendous quarterbacks play some special football this weekend and, therefore, we truly are the winners.

 

 

 

The Campus Corner: Johnny Football vs. Crimson Tide Showdown

Finally, one of the seasons most enticing match-ups is upon us.

After a Heisman-confirming effort by Johnny Football in Tuscaloosa took the Crimson Tide by storm and forced them away from a perfect season, redemption looms large for Nick Saban and his troops.

If there’s one thing you don’t do, you don’t make Nick Saban angry.

Unfortunately for Texas A&M, that’s exactly what they did just a year ago.

Throughout this offseason and even into training camp, the football facilities in Tuscaloosa had a constant.

And that constant constantly angered the Alabama football team.

Everywhere you looked, everywhere you turned, everywhere you walked, there it was. It drove them through a wall and annoyed them unceasingly.

The tape of last year’s embarrassment against the Aggies was played on loop in the football facilities non-stop. It was on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There was no mention of the National Championship Game, no mention of their third Crystal Ball in four years, oh no.

Instead, each and every play of the Texas A&m abomination, over and over and over again.

All leading up to this.

Redemption.

Everything, and I mean everything, is setting up for a Texas-sized beat down of the Aggies from Alabama.

First of all, that constant loop served as the premier form of motivation for this football team heading into 2013.

Then, Alabama looked past Virginia Tech and had an entire bye week to prepare for this battle.

On top of it all, Texas A&M has proven to be a mess.

Their defense is struggling after a tremendous turnover in personnel and Johnny Football seems to have taken steps back in his apparent maturation process.

So aside from motivation and the outside circumstances, what can we expect to see from Saturday’s game?

Well, for one, we’ll see Alabama at their best.

While the offensive line problems for Alabama are obvious, expect them to miraculously improve just in time- that’s what Nick Saban does.

AJ McCarron will take a step forward and be the 30 TD, 3 INT QB he was a year ago- despite his lowly, borderline awful showing against the Hokies two weeks ago.

The Crimson Tide may not be all that special on offense, but they will absolutely shine on the defensive side of the ball.

All that game tape the Tide defense has studied all summer long will pay huge dividends on Saturday afternoon. Expect them to completely shut down Johnny Football and his “Joeckel-less” offensive line.

The Tide defense will be prepared for anything that Kevin Sumlin throws at Nick Saban and Kirby Smart, that’s just a testament to the kind of coaches they are.

The only chance Texas A&M has in this contest is to shut down the suddenly-average Alabama offense.

While it’s not expected, the Alabama offense could sputter for the second consecutive game in a row and the Aggies could win in a defensive slugfest.

If that doesn’t happen, which should be the case just based on all of the preparation Saban has put into this meeting, just watch the Tide roll.

Maybe someday, I’ll be able to tell my kids the story of the beat-down the Aggies incurred on a warm September day in College Station.

Maybe I’ll tell them about Johnny Football and use him as an example of how not to act.

Or maybe the Aggies will surprise and become Saban’s kryptonite.

Anything can happen.

While that sentiment stays true, I will fully expect a historic smack-down of the Aggies on Saturday afternoon.