Alabama Football: The ‘what if’ world of Crimson Tide quarterbacks

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

Nick Saban is right to avoid comments driven by speculation. Alabama football fans might want to follow Saban’s lead, but it is impossible; especially in a Crimson Tide season filled with so many unknowns.

Fans have to spend time trying to understand what is happening with teams, coaches and players, with only games and stats to provide facts. Little of what occurs in training, practice and teaching sessions is available to fans in the form of facts. What is left are mountains of opinion, with a wide range of useless to worthwhile value.

With little ‘what is’ as a guide, ‘what if’ is the mainstay of fan and pundit conversation.

A recent opinion piece by Matt Hinton, providing a Power Ranking of SEC quarterbacks drew my attention. It is solid work by Hinton, that can be appreciated even by those, like me, who don’t agree with the order of the rankings.

No time will be wasted here quibbling with Hinton. Instead, let’s take Hinton’s assessment of Alabama Football and Jalen Milroe – and do another ‘what if’.

"(Hinton on Milroe) Immensely talented as he is — let there be no doubt about that — by the end of the Crimson Tide’s 34-24 loss to Texas he was just another fledgling starter with too much on his plate on a big stage."

Hinton nailed it and added the why.

"Saban-era quarterbacks have also rarely found themselves in the position of having a big game foisted onto their shoulders on a night when almost nothing else is going right. Alabama’s running backs averaged 3.2 yards on 20 carries; the o-line allowed 17 QB pressures and 5 sacks; the defense forced just 3 punts and zero takeaways while barely laying a hand on Milroe’s counterpart, Quinn Ewers."

A big Alabama Football ‘What If’

Here’s the ‘what if’ that frankly, pains me to contemplate. What if Jalen Milroe not only has the best total package of quarterbacking skills on the Crimson Tide roster – but also the most consistency in practices and scrimmages? Alabama football fans can hope that even if the above is true, another guy will, given a chance that began this week, will bring more to the position.

But what if that hope does not turn into reality? It feels as though the result would reinforce Greg McElroy’s contention that Alabama is “more vulnerable than ever” under Nick Saban.

A logical response to these issues is not ‘gloom and doom.’ Alabama will get better and the getting better will probably happen in every position group. The only remaining teams on the regular season, with comparable talent are Texas A&M and LSU. Both have shown no signs of playing at the level Texas played on Saturday night. If worrying about a game is a requirement, my pick is Ole Miss, not the Aggies, Bengal Tigers, or Vols.

Next. Week Two SEC Power Ranking. dark

A steadily improving Alabama football team can get to Atlanta. There and beyond, it will depend on whether all major weaknesses have been corrected.