A little over five years ago, Auburn — behind Heisman-winning quarterback Cam Newton — beat Oregon in the BCS Championship. Two weeks from now, Newton will have an opportunity to join a list that currently is only populated by Joe Namath and Joe Montana.
Namath (Alabama, New York Jets) and Montana (Notre Dame, San Francisco 49ers) are the only two quarterbacks in football history to start for a college football champion and win a Super Bowl. Newton would be the third.
Of course, guys like Tom Brady and Ken Stabler were backups at Michigan and Alabama, respectively, and went on to win a Super Bowl (in Brady’s case, Super Bowls) as a pro. Troy Aikman started for part of Oklahoma’s 1985 championship team, but was injured in October and missed the Sooners’ last push to a title. Joe Flacco lost the 2007 FCS Championship to Appalachian State, while Steve Young (BYU) and Peyton Manning (Tennessee) both left college a year before their schools won championships.
College football’s recent quarterback champions don’t lend a ton of hope that anyone will join Namath, Montana and potentially Newton anytime soon. Jameis Winston has the best chance, and A.J. McCarron started for Cincinnati after Andy Dalton got hurt.
But consider the list of quarterbacks to win a college title since 2000: Josh Heupel (now Mizzou’s offensive coordinator), Ken Dorsey (now Newton’s QB coach with the Panthers), Craig Krenzel (now a motivational speaker and founded an insurance company), Matt Mauck (who’s a dentist), Matt Leinart (who’s now a talking head for FOX Sports), Vince Young (who has a steakhouse in Austin and was arrested for DWI on Monday), Chris Leak (who’s a staffer with the Buccaneers), Matt Flynn (who most recently was the Saints’ backup), Tim Tebow (now a talking head for ESPN), Greg McElroy (now a talking head — and an underrated one — for ESPN), Newton, McCarron, Winston, Cardale Jones (who’s turning pro this year) and Jacob Coker (who’s collegiate eligibility is up).
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is unsure who should be his starting quarterback heading into this weekend’s game against Western Michigan. Alabama’s Nick Saban may be slightly more definitive in his quarterback decision this week. On Monday Saban showed signs of leaning toward Jacob Coker to be the Tide’s QB1 when they look to bounce back after a home loss to Ole Miss.
“At this point, providing he does the things he has to do, I think we’ll start him in this game,” Saban said Monday, per Al.com.
Saban started freshman Cooper Bateman this past weekend against Ole Miss, although Saban eventually replaced him with Coker. Was Saban out-thinking himself starting Bateman instead of Coker against Ole Miss? Would the game have gone any differently if Coker started the game? Probably not, since neither quarterback would be playing defense or special teams for the Tide.
No matter which player ends up playing quarterback for Alabama, Saban should see his team pick up a win this weekend. Alabama hosts Louisiana-Monroe. Of course, Saban is 0-1 against the Warhawks since he was hired to be Alabama’s head coach. ULM upset Alabama by a score of 21-14 in 2007, Saban’s first season as Alabama’s head coach. The two schools have not faced each other since 2007.
After two games, Nick Saban has apparently felt the need to shake things up under center at Alabama.
Very shortly before kickoff of the Ole Miss-‘Bama game, it was confirmed that Cooper Bateman will get the start at quarterback for the Tide against the Rebels. It marks the sophomore’s first career start.
Bateman will get the nod over Florida State transfer Jacob Coker, who won the quarterback competition coming out of summer camp. Coker, who spent 2014 as Blake Sims‘ primary backup, performed rather well statistically, completing 30-of-47 passes for 427 yards. He had a pair of touchdown passes as well as one interception.
This season, Bateman has seen his share of playing time as he’s completed 72 percent of his 25 passes for 149 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The game didn’t start off well for the Tide as they fumbled the opening kickoff, but a fired-up defense managed to hold the Rebels to a field goal.