AJ McCarron is finally starting to get some respect, but he’s certainly had to earn it the old-fashioned way: on the field in NCAA college football games, including the 2012 BCS National Championship Game. Zach Mettenberger, on the other hand seems to draw upon a deep well of admiration sunk during his high school years.
Well, how have both of them done through the first three weeks of the season? Well enough to get each team to 3-0 pretty comfortably. But let’s take a slightly more in-depth look, shall we?
Unless otherwise mentioned, all stats come from http://www.cfbstats.com/, which is a pretty fantastic website.
Alright, let’s compare their numbers, side by side:
The number in the "rank" column is where each one places among all college quarterbacks in terms of yards per game. (By the way, 74th was a tie, so AJ was ranked immediately behind Mettenberger.)
Here are charts of their individual passing performances in each game. First, AJ:
Alright, but who were they passing against?
Alabama’s opponents’ total defenses:
LSU’s opponents’ total defenses:
Alabama's opponents' pass defenses:
LSU’s opponents’ pass defenses:
Ah, but both Alabama and LSU have been destroying their opponents, which would skew these numbers. So, let’s remove each of these teams’ games against Alabama and LSU, and see how each did against their other two opponents.
Alabama’s opponents’ average pass defenses against their other two opponents:
LSU’s opponents’ pass defenses against their other two opponents:
Both AJ McCarron and Zach Mettenberger seem to be playing very well thus far this year. Zach has attempted 10 more passes than AJ (+3.3 attempts per game), has completed 12 more passes (+4 completions per game), for an 8.4% better completion percentage, and has 2 more passing yards (0.7 more passing yards per game). On the other hand, AJ has averaged 1.6 more yards per attempt, has thrown 3 more touchdowns (1 more TD per game), and 2 fewer interceptions (0.67 fewer interceptions per game - as in zereaux interceptions on the year thus far), and has a quarterback rating 32.41 points higher.
[Editor's Note: this is a very difficult system in which to format.]
[Editor's Note: caving to popular demand, I added some rudimentary charts.]