He plays the position that has produced 10 of the last 11 Heisman Trophy winners, does so for the nation's No. 1 team and was the offensive MVP of last season's BCS championship game.
So why, with that Heisman blueprint, isn't Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron a bigger presence in this year's race?
It may still be a matter of perception. Despite matching Georgia's Aaron Murray with 10 touchdown passes this season -- which puts McCarron on pace to shatter Greg McElroy's single-season record of 20 set in 2010 and keeps him in line to break John Parker Wilson's career record of 47 -- the Crimson Tide's redshirt junior can't seem to shake the "game manager" label.
Granted, McCarron hasn't had to win a game on his own. With a defense that's allowed 5.2 points per game, the second-year starter has yet to face many high-pressure situations. That could change during a two-week stretch against No. 21 Mississippi State and No. 3 LSU, but that's still a month away.
The Watchman, though, is finished ignoring the Yellowhammer State's
As a refresher, here's a look at how things stacked up