Harrison: AJ McCarron's Game

Posted Jan 9, 2012

Phil Harrison on the 2012 BCS Championship. ... AJ McCarron's moment

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- Harrison: AJ McCarron's Time  
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 Phil Harrison

Harrison: AJ McCarron's Time

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN

It's almost time for the much anticipated SEC rematch between LSU and 'Bama, and there's one guy that the Tide will need to shine in order to put away the past demons and stake its claim to the national title. That man has McCarron embroidered on the back of a traditional crimson and white jersey.

Not too many people outside of the SEC really know about AJ McCarron aside from the average day that he had against LSU in the first "game of the century." In that tussle on November 5th, the Alabama coaches didn't exactly unsaddle the young QB, but rather tried to keep the game plan simple--winning with defense and a solid running game.

When the epic defensive struggle was in the books, the sophomore from Mobile finished 16/29 for 199 yards. He was simply a part of the game plan, but arguably the most defining play of the game came on and interception McCarron threw down by the goal line of LSU. It is the lasting impression that most of the nation remembers.

Now--take two. If Alabama is going to win this game, it'll have to break from the norm and allow McCarron to make some plays down the field. LSU will more than likely utilize a similar game plan of taking away Alabama's most dangerous weapon--Trent Richardson--by loading up against the Heisman finalist. It worked to a large degree the first time, and if this season is any indication, the LSU defense will have a good shot at it taking hold again.

That means that the Alabama offense has to try and loosen things up, and to do that, McCarron is going to have ample opportunity to go out and win this game through the air. Sure Richardson will still be a big part of this game (the coaches would be foolish not to use him), but if there is a spot in which the Tiger defense is susceptible, it's undoubtedly through the air. Oregon started the year by completing 31 passes, and West Virginia lit up the LSU secondary by throwing for 463 yards. It's not exactly a case of ripe for the picking, but the ability is at least on the vine for yards to be had in flight.

And McCarron might just have the goods to do it this time around--as the game plan allows. If Alabama didn't have such an explosive player on the ground, McCarron would already have been a bigger part of the offense. His No. 20 ranked passing efficiency and greater than 3:1 TD to INT ration would ultimately result in more yards, more TDs, and more signature moments. And that's just what AJ McCarron and the Alabama coaching staff could be staring at come Monday night. If given the chance, this could be a coming out party for the talented signal caller with a national title ready to be plucked--a Tiger ready to be caught by the tail.

It's almost time to kick this title tilt off. There are plenty of stars on both sides sidelines from "honey badger" and Jordan Jefferson on the LSU sideline, to Trent Richardson and Courtney Upshaw gazing across from the other sideline. But the one unheralded star that could be showing the nation that he's ready to take a redemptive step towards hero of the BCS National Championship game might just be AJ McCarron.

Let the camera's roll.