Alabama Football: I’m a temporary Oklahoma fan. You should be too

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Alabama football
ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 01: Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs 35-28 in the 2018 SEC Championship Game. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

It’s not very often you can convince a real Alabama football fan to root for another team. This year I’m making an exception and so should you.

Every year there are players in college football that stand out above the rest for one reason or another. Usually, they are the Heisman candidates or top NFL prospects. Sometimes though, there are players that transcend the game and become legends.

Those types of players don’t come around every year. Sure, there are campus legends that are made about every year, but I’m talking about kids who become legends of the game not just their school. Guys like Tim Tebow, Herschel Walker, and Ernie Davis.

I believe we had the pleasure of seeing another legend of the game play for Alabama football over the past three seasons. Jalen Hurts epitomizes everything that makes college football, and sports in general, great. Jalen Hurts came to Alabama as a somewhat under-the-radar 4-star recruit from Texas. He wasn’t expected to contribute early in his career. In fact, he was third on the depth chart in his first collegiate game against USC.

Blake Barnett, who is now with South Florida, was the starter for the USC game and was a highly touted 5-star QB who was supposed to be Saban’s first non-game manager under center. All the hype in pre-season surrounded the QB battle between Barnett and Cooper Bateman. Jalen wasn’t even in the conversation. Except in the mind of Nick Saban.

See, what wasn’t in the news very much that offseason was the fact that Jalen was quietly but methodically winning over the Alabama football locker room with his work ethic, attitude, and silent leadership. Winning over a locker room is not all it takes to be a great QB but you can be sure that it helps by elevating the play of everyone else.

However, all you heard about in the media was Bateman and Barnett. Late in the process there started to be murmurs about Jalen Hurts getting an opportunity, but he was never seriously considered a contender for the job. Yet, just like he always has, Jalen shut out the noise and just competed.

Nick said he had a plan in the USC game to let all three guys, Barnett, Bateman, and Hurts, get significant game reps to best judge who would win the job, but Jalen had other ideas. The plan was originally for Bateman to be the second QB, but Saban broke from his plan early trotting out Jalen Hurts after two mediocre scoreless drives with Barnett at the helm.