Here’s the latest on Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron’s Heisman hopes

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — The publisher of HeismanPundit.com spent Saturday night at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, where he got a first-hand look at Oregon running back Kenjon Barner burning the USC defense.

Chris Huston caught the end of the Alabama-LSU game on television.

“AJ McCarron looked amazing,” he wrote on his respected website, “and watching that game winning drive made me think the Heisman race had been shaken up.”

Huston’s perception changed when he watched the whole game. Here is a bit of what he wrote:

McCarron looked pedestrian for three plus quarters and the game could have easily slipped away on the last drive. McCarron at his best is a strong complement to the Alabama offense, at worst he is little more than a game manager. Those are not exactly the superlatives needed to win the Heisman.

The final drive in the LSU game may have helped him gain some national recognition but it’s not going to win him the Heisman.

Outside of the one drive in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game McCarron has done little to justify his Heisman hype. The thing is, he hasn’t done anything detrimental to quell it either. Tide fans are some of the most vocal in the country and they have used their status to artificially raise McCarron’s profile. The underlying McCarron narrative is “he’s the best alternative!?”. McCarron’s numbers and performance alone won’t win him the Heisman but if the guys ahead of him falter, he’s the best alternative, right?

The latest straw poll is out at HeismanPundit.com. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein remains the overwhelming favorite. Barnes has surged into second place, up five spots from last week. McCarron is up two spots to No. 4, behind USC wide receiver Marquise Lee.

Huston writes that only Klein, Barner and McCarron have realistic chances to win the Heisman Trophy. Huston lists them in that order and writes this about McCarron:

While McCarron didn’t have great numbers in Alabama’s win against LSU — he was just 14 of 27 for 165 yards — he did lead the Tide on a clutch drive that culminated in his throwing the game-winning touchdown to TJ Yeldon. This was the best possible scenario for McCarron, who will be able to point to a ‘Heisman moment’ to bolster his case. While his overall numbers are somewhat pedestrian by past Heisman-winning standards, he does have a sterling 19-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio. If he can finish up the season without a pick, he’ll have a rather interesting statistic for Heisman voters to consider. At this point, his only chance to win the Heisman is for both Klein and Barner to fall by the wayside and for him to continue to play at his current level.

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