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Greatest Player of the Saban Era: Round #2, Match #12 - AJ McCarron vs. Barrett Jones... THIS TIME, IT'S PERSONAL!!!

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Who was the greatest player to wear the Crimson and White while Coach Saban has roamed the sidelines at Bryant-Denny? Let's Check:

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Round 1 is in the books, folks. Before moving on to Round 2, let's take a look back at how things have played out so far:


Julio Jones (86%) left Courtney Upshaw (13%) in his dust;

Mark Ingram (83%) stiff-armed C.J. Mosley (16%);

Trent Richardson (90%) trucked Dont'a Hightower (9%);

Barrett Jones (88%) pancaked Marcell Dareus (11%);

AJ McCarron (91%) went deep on Andre Smith (8%);

Javier Arenas (64%) returned it for a touchdown against Mark Barron (35%);

Rolando McClain (60%) managed to block Terrence Cody (39%); and

Chance Warmack (65%) overpowered Dee Milliner (34%).

Of the eight matchups in Round 1, the favorites won seven - only Javy was able to pull off the upset. That's probably why they're called "favorites." Not a single defensive player came away with a win over an offensive player - the only two defensive players to make it into this Elitest of Eight did so by defeating other defensive players, and the only offensive player who failed to advance was undone by another offensive player.

What does this mean? Regardless of our rote recitation of the revered refrain "defense wins championships," are well all truly point-happy 12'ers (whether PAC or Big) at heart? Or does the very nature of offensive plays, with their potentially greater opportunity for individual visibility, favor that side of the ball in this sort of contest? Where is that inflection point where the popularity of offensive players in microcosm is overwhelmed by our apparent preference for defense in macrocosm? How does one explain the success of offensive linemen, who are generally only highlighted when they do something wrong? Or is everyone simply voting for the player who is, in their opinion, "greater?"

You tell me.

Now it's on to Round 2, where we will separate the wheat from the... slightly less popular wheat.

Round #2, Match #12

AJ McCarron, QB



Photo credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Official Alabama Profile. [That doesn't seem to include his stats from the BCSNCG.)


460 completions on 609 attempts (66.67%), for 5,956 yards (8.63 yards per attempt), 49 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions

Passer Efficiency Rating of 160.3

85 carries for -28 yards, -0.33 yards per carry, 3 rushing touchdowns

1 tackle (1 solo)


Alabama Records

#4 in terms of most yardage in a season (2,612 yards, in 2011, a 13-game season - in next year's book, he will be #3 and #5, since he gained 2,937 yards in 2012, a 14-game season)

#6 in terms of yards per game in a season (200.9 ypg, in 2011 - in next year's book, he will be #6 and #7, since he gained 209.8 yards per game in 2012)

#6 in terms of most passing attempts in a season (328, in 2011 - in next year's book, he will be #6 and #8, since he attempted 314 passes in 2012)

#3 in terms of most completions in a season (219, in 2011 - in next year's book, he will be #3 and #5, since he completed 211 passes in 2012.)

#2 in terms of completion percentage over a season (minimum 200 completions) (66.8%, in 2011 - in next year's book, he'll be #2 and #3, since he completed 67.2% of his passes in 2012)

#4 in terms of most passing yards in a season (2,634, in 2011 - in next year's book, he'll be #2 and #5, since he passed for 2,933 yards in 2012)

#2 (3-way tie) in terms of most touchdown passes in a game (4, against Vanderbilt in 2011 - in next year's book, this will be a 7-way tie, since AJ threw four touchdown passes against Western Kentucky, Tennessee, the Auburnite, and Notre Dame in 2012)

#5 (3-way tie) in terms of touchdown passes in a season (16, in 2011 - in next year's book, he'll be #1 and #5, having thrown 30 touchdown passes in 2012, breaking Greg McElroy's 2010 record of 20)

#3 in terms of lowest interception % in a season (1.52%, in 2011 - in next year's book, he'll be #1 and #4, since only 0.96% of his pass attempts were intercepted in 2012, breaking Greg McElroy's 2009 record of 1.2%)

#3 in terms of most consecutive pass attempts without an interception (152, in 2011 - in next year's book, he'll be #1, having thrown 291 consecutive passes without an interception, breaking Brodie Croyle's streak of 190)


2012 BCS National Championship Game Offensive MVP (after the 2011 season)


Barrett Jones, OL



Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports


Like I said, it's tough to find stats for offensive linemen. Please feel free to post in the comments if you find stats you trust on relevant topics, like pancake blocks or sacks allowed. You can find a good bio of him at the University's official site, and you should go over there and check it out - it's long, and I'm not going to copy and paste the whole thing here.

Alabama Records

I think it bears noting that Barrett Jones's helmet number was selected as the cover photograph of Alabama's record book.


Outland Trophy (2011)

Rimington Trophy (2012)

Unanimous 1st Team All-American (2011)

Consensus 1st Team All-American (2012, AP, FWAA, TSN, WCFF, CBS, ESPN, Scout, SI)

1st Team All-SEC (2011, 2012)

Wuerffel Trophy (2011)

Jacobs Blocking Trophy (2011)

William V. Campbell Trophy (2012)

Drafted #113 in the 2013 NFL Draft