Who to watch: Alabama v. Notre Dame (BCS Championship)

BCS National Championship

Monday, January 7, 8:00pm EST

ESPN

The #1 RB and (probably) the #1 QB on the soon-to-be #1 team.

Alabama

Eddie Lacy, #42, Junior, RB

If I ran an NFL team, Eddie Lacy would be the top running back on my board.  While the video below will show you everything you need to see, let’s preface that with some evidence…

Of the 50+ running backs I studied in key game situations, Lacy found the end zone every 11.2 carries, which trailed only Stefphon Jefferson of Nevada, who wasn’t exactly playing against SEC competition.  Also,  Lacy’s average of 7 yards per carry trails only UNC’s Giovani Bernard (7.4) among the top RB prospects.

Another reason why he is so incredibly valuable is freshness–he has only 368 career touches at Alabama, having played behind Trent Richardson.    For perspective consider:

Eddie Lacy– 368 career touches at Alabama

Leveon Bell414 touches in 2012 alone for MSU

Montee Ball366 touches in 2012 alone for Wisconsin

To seal the deal, watch his outstanding performance in the SEC championship game:

AJ McCarron, #10, Junior, QB

In the BCS era (since 1998) every BCS National championship team was led by a junior or senior quarterback; that is, until AJ McCarron bucked the trend last year, becoming the first sophomore to do so.  While many would argue that he didn’t have much to do and it was his team that carried him, the fact remains that he is the ONLY sophomore QB to win a national championship in the BCS era.

In 2012, McCarron went from a good player on a great team, to a great player.  McCarron graded as the 4th best passer of the 2012 season, and by far the best QB in the SEC.  In fact, when isolating on SEC QBs that threw at least 25 passes/game, McCarron’s 2012 ranks as the highest season that I’ve graded.  Let’s compare him to probably the best recent SEC QB to make a splash in the NFL, Matt Stafford (2008)

Pass attempts

  • McCarron– 25.7
  • Stafford– 30.4

completion %

  • McCarron– 63.6
  • Stafford– 60.6

yards/completion

  • McCarron– 13.1
  • Stafford– 14.3

td%

  • McCarron– 7.8%
  • Stafford– 6.9%

int%

  • McCarron– 1.3%
  • Stafford– 2.9%

Grade in my system (anything above 95 is a potentially elite prospect)

  • McCarron–  110.4 
  • Stafford– 99.6

While it looks like AJ will return for his senior year–and perhaps an immortal third national championship–for comparison purposes I will say that he should be seen as a far superior prospect to Tyler Wilson, Tyler Bray, and Aaron Murray.  I’d draft him comfortable in the first 40 picks of the draft.

Watch him lead Alabama on a CLUTCH game winning drive on the road against LSU.

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