Alabama football has multiple quality quarterbacks on their roster for the 2020 season, but Mac Jones needs to be the starter in Week 1.
Alabama football has had its fair share of quarterback battles over the Nick Saban era. Phillip Sims almost beat out AJ McCarron, Blake Sims made Jake Coker sit on the bench for a year, and Tua beat out Jalen to become one of Alabama’s most successful quarterbacks ever. There will be another battle in 2020, but I believe that the winner is clear.
The two true competitors are Mac Jones and Bryce Young. Jones filled in for Tua last season as the starter and has great chemistry with the returning players, but Young is thought of to be the next great quarterback of college football. This competition is going to be fierce.
With everything else surrounding the competition, I believe that Mac needs to be Alabama’s starter. I know that Nick Saban will keep the competition alive and give both quarterbacks a chance to win the team, but the Crimson Tide can’t afford to lose Mac this season. That would leave them with only a couple of options, and neither would have experience.
Mac Jones has already used his redshirt, and he won’t have to sit out a year if he inevitably transfers since he has already graduated. He is looking to complete a 1-year masters program at UA, so it would be in his best interests to stay on the team. The only way that doesn’t happen is if he learns that he won’t be the starting quarterback before the season starts.
Mac’s biggest problems last season was that the team was asking too much from him. Tua could score in four plays, and that’s how Alabama football ran. With an improved defense, a focus on the running game, and two great receivers with abilities after the catch, Mac might be able to thrive in a simplified version of the offense.
If Bryce Young ends up being the better option down the road, then you can make the change. However, Alabama needs to at least give Mac Jones the first chance under center. He might not be the long-term option, but he is simply too valuable to lose this season to the transfer portal.
If Mac Jones has a successful season in 2020, he will have a few options. He can stay in Tuscaloosa and play for one more year (assuming Alabama wants him to), transfer and start somewhere else, or declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. He would be eligible for the Senior Bowl, and I bet he would get an invite. He could likely be a late draft pick. Saban might prefer this to him returning. If Bryce Young isn’t starting by his sophomore season, he might transfer as well.
This is truly a debate over an embarrassment of riches. Mac Jones threw for 1500 yards and 14 touchdowns despite being the backup for the majority of the season, and Bryce Young is one of Saban’s top recruits at Alabama. You can’t make a wrong decision. I am one of Bryce Young’s biggest supporters, but I believe that Mac Jones needs to start in Week 1. There is a great chance that Young takes over the job, but Mac needs to be under center against USC.
We will see what Alabama football ends up doing over the coming months, but this is the path that leads to the most success over the next four years.