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AJ McCarron’s second-place Heisman finish a testament to a great career

AJ McCarron AP

The topsy-turvy Heisman race reach finally gained some order on Saturday night as Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston took home the trophy in a landslide.

Lost in the shuffle, however, was the fact that Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron was a surprise runner up.

It’s not the first time a McCarron achievement has been downplayed. His 36-3 record as a starter, his school-record 8, 243 passing yards and 72 touchdown passes, his nation-leading pass efficiency rating as a junior — it didn’t really seem to resonate with a lot of the punditry who cover college football.

Nonetheless, Heisman voters seemed to understand, viscerally, what he meant to his team.No other Alabama quarterback has finished this high in the Heisman standings before. His recognition by the Heisman electorate is a fitting testament to a remarkable career that is coming to a close.

McCarron’s support in the Heisman vote was solid. He received the most second-place (162) and third-place votes (143) and the second-most first-place votes (79). He finished second in three of the six voting regions and third in the other three.

One wonders how the vote might’ve changed if the Tide hadn’t fallen in freaky fashion to Auburn. McCarron would’ve had another chance to show his stuff in the SEC title game and maybe a gallant performance there would’ve swayed more voters his way. At the very least, the race would’ve been a lot closer.

McCarron will go down as perhaps the greatest quarterback in Alabama history. It’s not going to be easy to replace him.

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45 Responses to “AJ McCarron’s second-place Heisman finish a testament to a great career”
  1. normtide says: Dec 15, 2013 6:04 PM

    He is the best qb that Bama has ever had. Not just in the field, but leadership off the field as well. Not saying he is the best player in the country. The kid is a winner. I wouldn’t bet against him in any endeavor he chooses. Roll Tide A.J. .

  2. jimmy53 says: Dec 15, 2013 6:32 PM

    A.J. had a tremendous career and is truly a proven winner. However, his stats on the year didn’t warrant second place in the Heisman voting. I am not taking anything away from his wonderful 4 years, but the award is for achievement this season.

    Just one man’s opinion…

  3. thekatman says: Dec 15, 2013 7:01 PM

    Freshman and sophores sgiuld not be eligible for the Heisman. Are you telling me that there isn’t a single senior or junior in all of college football that doesn’t warrant the award? If so, then college football is in more hurt than anyone can imagine.

  4. floridascuba1 says: Dec 15, 2013 7:06 PM

    Ken Dorsey.

  5. raysfan1 says: Dec 15, 2013 7:10 PM

    Completely fair to say he has accomplished more I his time at Alabama than any other Tide QB. However, I will wait a decade or two before deciding is he’s the greatest QB ever from Alabama, as that would (to me) require continued excellence at the next level…and good luck to him in trying to surpass Bart Starr, Joe Namath, and Ken Stabler.

  6. jagtiger says: Dec 15, 2013 7:14 PM

    I would love for the Jaguars to draft him! He’s going to have a long NFL career.

  7. dhardy8207 says: Dec 15, 2013 7:30 PM

    so pleased this young man played for BAMA… He has been an excellent example off the field for his team mates particularly the younger ones and is a proven winner!..

    I can only wish him well as he embarks on the next part of his journey. AJ I hope to see a lot of you on Sundays while watching the NFL…

    Best Wishes and Roll Tide…

  8. tidebarrister says: Dec 15, 2013 8:10 PM


    You make some good points, but it’s clear that you didn’t watch many (if any) Alabama games this year! AJ played great all year and without his great play, we don’t beat Texas A& M and probably a few other teams.

    You make the simplistic mistake that many novices make — you confuse stats with great play — they are not the same.

    Alabama features a balanced offensive attack. That’s how you win 3 national championships in 4 years. If Saban wanted AJ to pass for 300 yards and throw for 4 touchdowns a game, he could do it.

    Alabama’s style of play is one of the reasons that the university didn’t have a Heisman trophy winner until Mark Ingram in 2009.

    We’ll let the other schools keep their Heisman trophys and we’ll keep winning national championships. I mean isn’t that what it’s all about in a team sport? Team success, not individual!


  9. normtide says: Dec 15, 2013 8:14 PM

    I respectfully disagree about the next level. An athlete’s pro and college careers are separate in my opinion. Tim Couch will always be a great college qb, his failure at the next level doesn’t change that. Also, many pro stars did very little in college.

    I watch less and less NFL these days. The game just doesn’t interest me as much at the pro level. I love the regional feel of college ball. The fact that four years is all a player gets gives it a different feel. Plus, college gives us much better story lines. Cinderella teams, Cinderella players. Young undersized/less talented players getting by on heart and toughness. Every game is a parade.

  10. thermanmerman99 says: Dec 15, 2013 8:49 PM

    normtide you dont watch the NFL because your podunk state has no NFL team , end of story, so quit making excuses to try and justify your made up story as to why college football is better.

  11. normtide says: Dec 15, 2013 9:04 PM

    I am an hour away from the Tennessee titans stadium. Almost two hours from Atlanta. Parts of this state is close to New Orleans. Closer then some in Texas is to the cowboys or people in California to the raiders.

    You post a lot on a college football site. You raise that right? From what I’ve noticed from your posts, your team sucks and you need to take it out on others. Maybe you should get a pet, or try to go out and make friends.

  12. BrownsTown says: Dec 15, 2013 9:17 PM

    Trent Dilfer is also a Super Bowl winner. How ’bout that?

  13. BrownsTown says: Dec 15, 2013 9:18 PM


    Instead of getting a pet, he should just glom on to the best teams in the conference in which his sorry team belongs. I hear that works out well.

  14. normtide says: Dec 15, 2013 9:37 PM

    Still better then rooting for the browns.

  15. Deb says: Dec 15, 2013 9:37 PM

    I’m so proud of A.J. He’s been a great leader, a great quarterback for this system. I think he’ll do well in the pros–largely because I believe in traditional quarterbacking and am not a fan of quarterbacks who break RB records (where is that Tebow kid now anyway?). Mobility is an asset, but your job is to read defenses, then throw or hand off.

    As a rabid NFL fan, I do judge players by the totality of their careers–while also recognizing the unfairness of that. After all, the Heisman isn’t about how great you were in the pros. That’s why God made the NFL Hall of Fame. But it does seem pointless to excel in college if you can’t accomplish anything professionally.

    At any rate, I love McCarron. But when Starr, Namath, and Stabler have played on your roster … you can’t say A.J.’s the best in your history.

  16. thekatman says: Dec 15, 2013 9:42 PM

    Well said, Deb.
    Fight On.

  17. normtide says: Dec 15, 2013 9:45 PM

    Hard to argue against any of the names you listed. It’s a subjective debate. But to me, AJ played during the SEC’s strongest era. All he did was have the best winning % during that time.

    College and pro ball are two completely different games. I keep them separate.

  18. raysfan1 says: Dec 15, 2013 10:06 PM

    Normtide, Deb said it well. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I believe AJ McCarron is indisputably an outstanding college quarterback, and arguably the best college quarterback ever at Alabama. However, and this is just my opinion, to call him the best ever quarterback period (without the “college” qualifier), then you have to include the professional resume.

  19. raysfan1 says: Dec 15, 2013 10:15 PM

    As to the mention of Trent Dilfer–yes, both he and AJ McCarron have been called “game managers” as if that’s somehow an insult. McCarron “game managed” his way to 2BCS championships. Dilfer did “game manage” his way to a Super Bowl title…and how many quarterbacks can say they were the starter on a Super Bowl winner, ever? 29. Any QB called a game manager should immediately respond with a smile and a “thank you.”

  20. pettytom says: Dec 15, 2013 11:16 PM

    Couple of question:

    “It’s not the first time a McCarron achievement has been downplayed. His 36-3 record as a starter, his school-record 8, 243 passing yards and 72 touchdown passes, his nation-leading pass efficiency rating as a junior — it didn’t really seem to resonate with a lot of the punditry who cover college football.”

    School record 8 what?

    thekatman says:
    Dec 15, 2013 7:01 PM

    Freshman and sophores sgiuld not be eligible for the Heisman.

    What are sophores & sgiuld?

  21. Deb says: Dec 15, 2013 11:16 PM

    @raysfan1 …

    Amen on the game manager. Given a choice between all those years with Marino and no Lombardi or a couple of years with Dilfer and a Lombardi … that’s no contest. And I’m sure the Ravens fans wouldn’t trade their Lombardi for that Hall of Fame QB.

    Bear always said the individual awards didn’t matter. Championships matter. By that standard, Starr, Namath, Stabler, and A.J. are all special talents :)

  22. gfj7000 says: Dec 15, 2013 11:24 PM

    AJ – is a very good QB and I’ve followed him for a couple years from here in the west. As a few others have noted though – he was more of a ‘game winner’ player/catalyst with other key players on the team, rather than a QB with ‘off-the-chart’ individual stats. So for this reason I’d probably rank him #4 or #5. Among the other QBs on the existing list, there are more than a half dozen more that have higher ranking stats, and %s than AJ (they didn’t make the list as (6) players is enough). So, with that I’m finished.

  23. normtide says: Dec 15, 2013 11:44 PM

    I prefer a game manager over the qb that fakes a snap, then looks to the sideline for the play call.

  24. thekatman says: Dec 16, 2013 12:46 AM

    Sorry folks. I jate the iPad keyboard. I was trying tomstate that freshman and sophomores should not be eligible for the Heisman. There are plenty of ju iors and seniors who have met the H requirements, but aren’t easy sports reporting fodder.

    JW and Johnny Football,do not deserve the Heisman. McCarron certainly led his college career, on and off the field, in a Heisman caliber way, and that’s what the Heisman is all about.
    Johnny has already embarrassed the Heisman Trust. Just wait till the civil lawsuit hits the tabloids about the rape case against Jameis. The local PD already screwed the pooch on the investigation and tried to get the family to drop the charges as the FSU cmmty would not allow this to continue, as “we’re a football town.”

    The corruption in the NCAA and CFB in general is only surpased by the most corruptive presidential admin in history, which ismwhat we are dealing with today… The enemy in the White House.
    Fight on.

  25. liverpoolred04 says: Dec 16, 2013 8:16 AM

    Lol, I could put up those numbers with that talent around me, dumb article as usual.

  26. 666undead says: Dec 16, 2013 8:25 AM

    To win the Heisman, you must win games, preferably championships, be an exemplary citizen, show class and exhibit leadership at all times. This is routine for A.J. Hmmm, makes me wonder how certain other people got rated so highly.

  27. bamafan10 says: Dec 16, 2013 9:17 AM

    AJ will always be a Heisman winner in my book .. I have no respect left for their system .. Everyone in the country knows how he represented his school untarnished and as and athlete should .. I know he will succeed in any endeavor he Chooses .. Congrats AJ .. May the force be with u .. smiles

  28. ozarkannie74 says: Dec 16, 2013 10:19 AM

    AJ should have won – but he seemed happy to just be there as they all should have been !! Manziel didn’t crack a smile after they announced the winner, I’m sure he thought he was gonna win again – what a joke – shouldn’t have won the first time.

    If morals, integrity and leadership have anything at all to do with the Heisman any more, then AJ should have won it, but obviously they don’t count for much any more.

    We’ll see how Bama does next year with the great coach Satan at the helm and no McCarron!!

  29. Deb says: Dec 16, 2013 12:00 PM

    People are putting a lot onto the Heisman. Yes, there’s one word in the award description about playing with “integrity.” But as far as I know, the award doesn’t include morals clauses, and so on. And it’s not about career achievement. Whatever all of you think the Heisman should be about, the people who give out the award have determined that it should go to the best athlete of the year–with no requirement that the athlete be a junior or senior.

    I don’t like seeing it go to freshmen, but that’s my personal opinion–and it carries absolutely no weight. Sorry, but none of us can say Winston doesn’t deserve the award because he doesn’t meet some arbitrary criteria we’ve cooked up in our own heads.

  30. Deb says: Dec 16, 2013 12:01 PM

    @ozarkannie74 …

    Nick Saban has won four NCAA titles with THREE different quarterbacks. I expect he’ll do just fine. :roll:

  31. ozarkannie74 says: Dec 16, 2013 12:09 PM

    Well Deb – I guess we’ll find out!

  32. dhardy8207 says: Dec 16, 2013 2:25 PM

    “The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. ”

    “Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perserverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy trust ensures the continuation and intergrity of this award. ”

    “The Trust, furthermore, has a charitable mission to support amateur athletics and to provide greater opportunity to the youth of our country.”

    What is interesting is the last statement above. I haven’t heard of any of the finalist communal or charitable activities except for AJ. He does a lot of charitable work with The Children’s Hospital here in Birmingham. He also helped to raise awareness of youth activities in Mobile where he is from.

    The award has already been give to the player of choice but my personal opinion this has become a popularity vote between the Heisman voters. Integrity and charitable duties obviously are not the top attributes for the deciding the winner….

  33. raysfan1 says: Dec 16, 2013 5:06 PM

    liverpoolred04 says:
    Dec 16, 2013 8:16 AM
    Lol, I could put up those numbers with that talent around me, dumb article as usual.

    You could? Awesome! Do you still have eligibility? Yes? Wow, then by all means go try out. (Sarcasm. I’ve no doubt you’d be embarrassed severely if you really were to try.)

  34. ozarkannie74 says: Dec 16, 2013 5:59 PM

    Lots of QB’s with talent on the team don’t put up those kind of stats year after year after year – he’s done it for 5 years in a row and I hope we get to continue to see him play in the NFL and he goes on to be a HOF QB – then he will get the reward that he deserves. RG3 didn’t make it but one year, Kapernick didn’t make it but one year, Manziel should have never gotten the Heisman, and I think that’s history proven.

    Just sit back in your recliner and keep making stupid remarks about a guy that worked his rear off leading the team for 5 years without taking any credit, not getting in any trouble, and doing charity work with kids. Find another 5th year Senior in college that can match that.

  35. Deb says: Dec 16, 2013 6:26 PM

    @dhardy8207 …

    That’s a reference to the charitable mission of the Heisman Trust in sponsoring amateur athletics. It has nothing to do with a requirement for the eligible athletes to be involved in charitable activities.

    The only requirement for the winner is that it be the player who best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity, who demonstrates ability combined with diligence, perserverance, and hard work.

    In other words, they’re looking for the guy who shows the most talent and also played with integrity. Taking a $300,000 under-the-table salary to play as an amateur is what did in Reggie Bush. I don’t think a player’s dating escapades have anything to do with integrity on the field.

  36. Deb says: Dec 16, 2013 6:31 PM

    BTW, other awards recognize players for academic achievement and for charitable activities. The NFL also has special awards for players who give back to their communities. That’s just not what this award is about. Like the NFL MVP, it’s the award for the player who had the most on-field impact.

  37. dhardy8207 says: Dec 16, 2013 7:32 PM

    @ Deb;

    “I don’t think a player’s dating escapades have anything to do with integrity on the field.”

    I never mentioned anything about a “players dating escapades” so I’m not sure where you got that from.

    What I was referring to is in the recent past they have picked finalist who have had “questionable” integrity issues. While its not uncommon for youngsters going away to school for the first time to make bad judgements, if your giving an award for the best “all around player” figuring in the “integrity” part of that mission statement, a player who has gone through 4 years of college, excelled in their sport plus kept their record clean of “questionable behavior” should be the candidate of choice. If not then they should just remove the integrity part. I don’t think Cam Newton should have won it because he had to know what his father was doing.

    This to me equates to the difference between a lie and “a little white lie” (as the old saying goes)
    Both are lies, the only difference is one’s justification for the lie, but still a lie nonetheless. Manziel had a run in with the law enforcement of College Station and the way they got around that was he got that in the preseason.

    If the award is based soley on the player’s performance on the field and the other is just decorative wording then that deminishes the honor of recieving it thus making it just another statue for performance on the field only…. JMHO….

  38. normtide says: Dec 16, 2013 10:58 PM

    I watched some NFL this weekend. My God, the officiating is horrible. The game has become arena league. The lack of practice time the owners agreed to is showing, the play is sloppy. It looks like players work more on their celebrations then their play. Their entrances look like they are in the WWF. The stadiums look empty. Even the pre-game shows look cookie cutter. In all, it looks more like an action sitcom then a game. It even has a villain, Goddell. The owners are ruining the game, but they Kizer Sozey all the fans. College football has the NFL beat, fans down.

  39. Deb says: Dec 16, 2013 11:55 PM

    @dhardy8207 …

    Wasn’t referring to anything you said with that line but just offering an example of something that doesn’t involve on-field integrity. I agree about Newton. NCAA rules say that a player is disqualified if a family member or anyone else acting as an agent for the player solicits money on his behalf. They don’t say anything about whether he knows about it. Technically, he should have been disqualified from playing. But he wasn’t … and that’s the end of it.

    However, I do think the Heisman is just another statue for on-field performance.

  40. Deb says: Dec 17, 2013 12:01 AM

    @normtide …

    Please! I already have a migraine.

    Would have a difficult time choosing which team I love more: Alabama or Pittsburgh. And definitely prefer CFT to PFT. But much as I enjoy college ball, I prefer the pro game … and it is painful to watch the mess Goodell is making. How I despise that man.

  41. normtide says: Dec 18, 2013 5:39 PM

    In the NFL: a punter is a defenceless payer throughout the down.

    I’m sorry my friend, argument OVER. College is football.

  42. ozarkannie74 says: Dec 19, 2013 8:28 AM

    I must have missed something – how did a punter get into the conversation?

  43. normtide says: Dec 19, 2013 6:12 PM

    A simple, college is better then pro ball, not talent wise just actually football, conversation broke out. I apologize for getting off topic

  44. ozarkannie74 says: Dec 20, 2013 7:23 AM

    No problem, I just think the kickers, that win so many games for the teams, are grossly overlooked when it comes to awards. No real sure, but I think the Patriots kicker has won most of their football games this year – and the Alabama kicker lost a big game for them, Arkansas’s kicker is the highest scoring player in the history of the school,and on and on, so just never understood why they aren’t as important as the QB – and wanted to get in on the conversation. :)

  45. normtide says: Dec 20, 2013 12:11 PM

    I have to issue with protecting them while kicking. But protected throughout the down? After a punt, they are defensive players, attempting tackles. Any player that can’t be touched on defense should be on the sideline.

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