No trouble with AJ

An appreciation for the most underappreciated quarterback in college football

Updated: August 9, 2013, 10:52 AM ET
By Brock Huard | ESPN The Magazine

AJ McCarronRoss Dettman for ESPNAJ McCarron and Alabama face a tough road to get through the SEC and repeat as BCS champs.

SO WHAT EXACTLY does AJ stand for?

"It doesn't stand for anything," Bama quarterback AJ McCarron says, adding: "My mom just didn't like periods between the letters." The ambiguity fits the narrative. Johnny Football is the rock star, Teddy Bridgewater is the top pro prospect and Braxton Miller has better Heisman odds. But the Tide's quarterback is something else. He begins his third season as a starter on the verge of leading Alabama to its third straight BCS title, which would be an unprecedented feat in the sport. But outside Dixie, AJ might as well be the guy with the beauty-queen girlfriend.

• College football analyst for ESPN
• Six-year NFL QB and three-year starter at University of Washington
• Co-host of the Brock and Danny Show on ESPN 710 AM in Seattle