Sep 12, 2009; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes receiver Duron Carter (2) during the game against the Southern California Trojans at Ohio Stadium. USC defeated Ohio State 18-15. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Does "Duron Carter" really exist at Alabama?

True story: I know someone who has seen “Duron Carter” in an Alabama football uniform.

Of course, that person also tells me he has seen the Easter Bunny, knows where I can get a good deal on a quality pre-owned unicorn, that he spent a couple hours on a UFO, and has broken bread with Bigfoot.

Do I personally believe “Duron Carter” – he of the legendary wide receiving lineage and checkered decision-making past – exists?

Not until I actually see the man, in uniform, on the home sideline at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Until that moment, though, consider me a skeptic on par with the folks who listen to America After Dark for the comedy aspects. Because while I am certain there is a young man by the name of “Duron Carter” who actually exists and is wandering around the University of Alabama campus right now hoping to bump into a classroom or two, I have seen absolutely no evidence of a “Duron Carter” who was/is/could be the next savior of the Crimson Tide receiving corps.

Until I see the kin of Cris Carter in some other form and dimension than the grainy, easily-Photoshopped footage obtained from daily 30 seconds of media observation allowed by Alabama, well, consider me someone who doesn’t believe in the Easter Bunny.

Perhaps this jaded viewpoint wouldn’t be so abundant if it wasn’t for what has become a sort of yearly tradition for a large segment of Alabama fans: Transference of hype toward a backup. It happens all the time – a starter at a skill position, usually quarterback, isn’t performing up to some sort of ridiculously high expectations, so thus his backup is the greatest thing since a combination of Joe Namath and Bart Starr.

In the instance of “Duron Carter”, it is more like a morphing of Harry Gilmer and Julio Jones. With a healthy dash of Ridiculous 9/11 Conspiracy Theory mixed in.

And when you combine said transference of hype with the spring practice factor (defined as “a player who barely registers as a conscious thought is said to be tearing up the field”), suddenly “Duron Carter” is a player who should be spending as much time considering his bust in Canton as he is any doghouse Nick Saban currently has chosen for him as a residence.

I am sure the true believers will come out in droves and point out that a “Duron Carter” played at somewhere called Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College (to which I respond, “I wonder if that is actually housed inside Area 51 or on the outskirts?”)

More will say “Look, Alabama’s website says this Carter kid played in all 12 games as a freshman at Ohio State in 2009!” Me? “I can create a website that says I was All-Big 10 myself in 2009!”

Others will simply point at the “measurables” of “Duron Carter” – 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, son of a future Pro Football Hall of Famer – and project for certain that he will be catching bullets from AJ McCarron and dancing in end zones throughout the Southeastern Conference in the fall.

Come to think of it, this could all be a masterfully planned practical joke by Saban. Think about it! What better way to distract those easily-duped media boys from the degree of difficulty that is winning three championships in four seasons than a Sidd Finch-sized figment of the Crimson Tide coach’s imagination?

The signs are all there: Make mention of a mysterious transfer who will revolutionize the way the very game is played, somehow conjure up an ineligibility on the eve of the kid actually seeing the light of day, call in a favor to Cris Carter to play along with the ruse … And voila! Instant smokescreen to install the triple-option and totally throw Michigan for a loop on Opening Day!

So beware, all those who don’t check the mall Santa Claus for a pillow masquerading as pudge. You’ve been warned, those terrified of inland bodies of water along the Scottish Highlands because the Loch Ness Monster is lurking. There is a new fairy tale out there to tell the kids at night when you want to give them a good scare.

Just tell ‘em “Duron Carter” is real, and ready, and will help Alabama win ‘em all in 2012. Believe that, and I have some beachfront property in Coffeyville, Kan., to sell you.

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