Experience will not help four quarterbacks beat the Alabama Crimson Tide

With one exception, the most experienced quarterbacks Alabama Football will face in the regular season, do not pose much of an upset threat.
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An old college football adage is there is no substitute for experience. Though it is often true, sometimes the value of experience is overrated. Experience does not always develop talent. It can also reveal inadequacies.

In the 2024 regular season, the Alabama Crimson Tide will face four quarterbacks who have started 24 or more college games. None will be the best QB Alabama will compete against in the regular season. That distinction belongs to Georgia's Carson Beck, who has 14 career starts.

The best of the four more experienced guys is the only one with high-level talent. That is Missouri's Brady Cook. Cook has 27 career starts. In his two most recent seasons, he has passed for over 6,000 yards. His career completion percentage is 66%. In the 2023 season, his Passing Efficiency Rating (PER) was 157.2. In the 2024 season, Cook will be throwing to, arguably the best wide receiver in college football, Luther Burden. The pair will provide a major challenge for the Crimson Tide.

Three more experienced Alabama Football opposing QBs

There is no debate over how good Carson Beck and Brady Cook are. Some will contend that three inexperienced QBs, Nico Iamaleava (Tennessee), Garrett Nussmeier (LSU), and Jackson Arnold (Oklahoma) pose a greater threat to the Alabama Crimson Tide than some of the more experienced QBs. There is little doubt about the trio's potential, but each has just one college start. They may be great in 2024 or they may disappoint.

Lots of starting experience will not help TJ Finley and Payton Thorne against the Crimson Tide. Finley's new team, Western Kentucky opens the season against the Crimson Tide. It is Finley's fourth team, including LSU, Auburn, and Texas State. His best production came last season playing for Texas State in the Sun Belt. His three season propensity to throw interceptions was not a problem last season. He may be much improved, but WKU does not have a roster to be a serious threat to Alabama.

Payton Thorne will be Auburn's starter again, pretty much by default. For whatever reasons, Hugh Freeze was unable to lure a transfer to replace Thorne. In three seasons at Michigan State and one season at Auburn, Thorne has passed for over 8,200 yards. His problem is completing passes to the other team. In 39 career starts, Thorne has thrown 34 interceptions. For 2024 Hugh Freeze has given Thorne more receiving talent and supposedly an improved offensive line. Maybe Auburn and Thorne will be improved. and also maybe not.

Much is expected of Tyler Van Dyke at Wisconsin. Over the past three seasons at Miami, Van Dyke had 28 starts. He was impressive in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. He was named the ACC Rookie of the Year after the 2021 season. In 2023, he too had an interception problem. He passed for 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Van Dyke will pose an early threat to a Crimson Tide secondary that will need more than a couple of games to coalesce. He is not a dual threat, so if Alabama gets frequent pressure, he might not be effective in Madison.

In the Nick Saban Era of Alabama Football, it took outstanding quarterback play to beat the Crimson Tide. If that is still true, TJ Finley, Payton Thorne, and Tyler Van Dyke are not expected to provide it.

Note: Player stars provided by Sports Reference