Two elite players, two elite teams, two smokeshow girlfriends, but two distinctly different means of dominating a football game.
Alabama’s AJ McCarron has been the personification of a perfect Nick Saban quarterback in his three years in Tuscaloosa. With an unwavering, calm approach to the game and steady leadership, McCarron has efficiently dissected defenses and racked up titles.
He is going into his senior season in 2013. After becoming the first passer to win consecutive national championships in the BCS era, this year may be even better.
However, gunslinger Texas A&M single caller Johnny Manziel burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman last fall, winning the Heisman Trophy after setting the SEC’s single-season all-purpose yardage record.
And he has yet to relinquish the spotlight since. So, the question becomes which one would you like on your team? If you were starting a season on Dynasty Mode in NCAA ’14, who would you want as your quarterback?
McCarron, at 6-foot-4 and more than 210 pounds, is the prototypical pocket passer — and he has the pinpoint accuracy to go with it. His 175.3 passer rating as a junior led the nation. He only threw three interceptions all year to compliment a whopping 30 touchdown passes.
On the flipside, Manziel is the wild child that makes A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin’s unit go faster. And faster. At 6-foot-1 and 200-plus pounds, “Johnny Football” has always had the speed to dominate a football game, and now he might have the weight to take the beating that comes with all his running as well. Don’t let that overshadow his offensive production: 3,706 passing yards, 29 touchdowns passes and nine interceptions last season. Add that to a whopping 1,410 yards on the ground with another 21 touchdowns.
Of course, Manziel’s squad beat McCarron’s Tide last year in what served as Bama’s only loss of the year en route to yet another title for ‘Bama.
Off the field, both have made news. Manziel has, of course, only played one year, but already he has squeezed in enough offseason headlines to make an average person’s head spin.
On the other hand, the only things we have heard out of McCarron’s camp are that he has chosen to stay at school — a positive if you are looking to build a winning program. His girlfriend continues to blow up, and he once kicked it with Waka Flocka Flame. Definitely good times, but not nearly as intense as Manziel’s weekly tabloid headlines.
But their individual play is very much like their off-field persona: McCarron is, for the most part, the efficient assassin. He will hit his targets for modest gains in the passing game for 10 straight attempts or more. However, every once in while, he’ll strike. Whether it be on a long bomb to teammate Amari Cooper or with bombshell girlfriend Katherine Webb, the guy will absolutely blow up the Alabama fan base.
On the flip side, Manziel stokes the insane 12th Man fire as soon as he steps onto the field — or into a College Station bar.
Two great talents leading two great programs, but which would you be more comfortable trotting under center?