Johnson: Is McCarron in the Heisman hunt?

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 17, 2012


Monday Thought: Johnson on McCarron for the Heisman



- Fiutak: The Tide might be special, but do you care?
- Cirminiello: Prove it, Florida State
- Mitchell: The Volunteer running game
- Zemek: The John L. Smith Situation
- Harrison: Virginia Tech being Virginia Tech
- Johnson: Is McCarron in the Heisman hunt?

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

After Alabama's 52-0 demolition of Arkansas this weekend, it's time that AJ McCarron receives serious consideration for the Heisman Trophy.

Voters often use a myriad of approaches to select the top candidate for the nation's most prestigious honor. Some will select the player with the best statistics, while others will go with the guy who turns in the best performance on the big stage. An even smaller contingent will simply vote for the best player on the top-ranked team in the country.

Regardless of which of these metrics a voter would use, AJ McCarron is still one of the best choices for this highly coveted award.

Looking solely at the numbers, McCarron has to be at the top of everyone's Heisman Trophy list. Despite playing in a new offense that takes more shots downfield, McCarron has put up some solid statistics this year. Heading into week 4, he ranks third nationally in passing efficiency with an amazing 196.59 rating. He also ranks second in the nation in yards per attempt (10.8), and has thrown 7 TDs against zero picks.

More impressively, he put up these numbers against solid competition, including Michigan, Arkansas, and Western Kentucky -- who defeated Kentucky in Lexington this weekend.

But there's more to his candidacy than just sheer numbers: McCarron also plays well in big games. While it has no bearing on this year's award, it's worth pointing out that McCarron was at his best against top competition last year. In nine games against SEC opponents, he completed over 67% of his passes and threw for 11 TDs against only 3 INTs. While that might not win any fantasy league contests, it certainly did help the Tide win the national championship.

This year, McCarron simply picked up right where he left off in 2011. Playing against a Michigan team that many predicted would finish in the top ten, McCarron connected on several key throws early, including a 51-yard strike to DeAndrew White that opened the floodgates to a landslide 41-14 victory.

Given his success against top defenses last season, and his solid performances against Arkansas and Michigan, there's no reason to believe that he won't continue to succeed under pressure again this season.

The biggest advantage that McCarron has over the other Heisman contenders is that he plays for the best team in country. While he might not be the most talented player on the Crimson Tide sideline, McCarron is certainly the most recognizable thanks to his clutch performances in big games. With Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon splitting carries, and no clear-cut number one receiver, there's no way that any other offensive player -- including All-American Barrett Jones -- could supplant McCarron as the face of the Alabama offense. As long Bama keeps scoring points, he should continue to pick up more votes.

It bears repeating that there's still 12 weeks to go in the season, and there's a lot that can still happen before the final Heisman votes are tallied. As RG3's clutch performance against Oklahoma showed us, nothing is ever over until it's over.

However, based on his stats, his play in big games, and the fact that he's the most recognizable face on the nation's best team, AJ McCarron deserves a trip to New York in December.


- Fiutak: The Tide might be special, but do you care?
- Cirminiello: Prove it, Florida State
- Mitchell: The Volunteer running game
- Zemek: The John L. Smith Situation
- Harrison: Virginia Tech being Virginia Tech
- Johnson: Is McCarron in the Heisman hunt?