College football’s beacon of consistency is about to face some real uncertainty.
Alabama, that team with three national championships in past five years, doesn’t know who its starting quarterback is going to be. Even worse, it’s had all summer to find out, but is still playing the guessing game with mere days left before the team’s season-opener against West Virginia on Saturday.
On one hand, you have Jake Coker, the talented junior from Florida State who looked to be the next Cam Newton-esque transfer to shake up the college scene.
With the same fratty haircut, wide-eyed gaze and big arm that defined the Alabama quarterbacks before him, from A.J. McCarron to Greg McIEroy, it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before Coker became the next Crimson Tide game manager who lucked into a title game.
Seriously, it seems like they plug in these guys and they suddenly become touchdown-flinging cyborgs made in Alabama coach Nick Saban’s devilish image.
But senior Blake Sims – a 6-foot nothing career benchwarmer for the Tide – somehow has emerged as a favorite in the preseason competition.
That means uncertainty for Alabama going into its opener against West Virginia.
And while they’ll probably be alright, that’s not a good thing.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a quarterback not named A.J. McCarron line up as Alabama’s starter.
He redshirted his first year on campus, rode the pine his freshman season then started three years, emerging from a talented but unknown sophomore starter into a full-blown football savant as a senior. He won two championships as the starter and basically made every quarterback on the roster obsolete – basically like every recent Alabama quarterback.
After all, this team has had a total of three starting quarterbacks in eight years. John Parker Wilson was the returning signal-caller when Saban arrived in 2007. He was followed by McElroy in 2009 and then McCarron in 2011.
During that time, Saban has gone 74-15 and had a statue built in his honor.
What will happen when Saban’s quarterback isn’t a sure thing in the stout Southeastern Conference?
Luckily for Saban’s squad, it might not matter who lines up under center at all. That’s because this team is not hurting for offensive firepower.
T.J. Yeldon has already been a star for a while now, after amassing 2,343 yards and 26 touchdowns in only two years. But somehow he’s been overlooked by national pundits salivating over Derrick Henry, a five-star running back who arrived as the No. 1 athlete in the nation and really emerged with 100 yards and a touchdown on only eight carries in Alabama’s Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma.
A third stud, Kenyan Drake, rounds up this three-headed monster at tailback.
And that’s only good news for Alabama, which might need some trustworthy running backs if the quarterback position doesn’t get settled soon.