Jalen Hurts vs. Tua Tagovailoa has been one of the most important offseason stories in college football. Both players want to be the full-time starting quarterback at Alabama, and both have reportedly been close to transferring in recent months.
The debate is often a passionate one among Crimson Tide fans. On one hand, Hurts has played 29 career games — starting nearly all of them — and helped lead the Tide to a pair of national title games. On the other hand, Tagovailoa threw 3 second-half touchdown passes that won the national championship in January.
Tagovailoa has been the odds-on favorite to win the job since the National Championship Game, sparking transfer talk from Hurts’ father. All of this came after Tagovailoa reportedly was set to transfer if he didn’t play in the title game.
VegasInsider.com expert Brian Edwards has a different kind of opinion: It doesn’t much matter who wins the job.
Edwards pegs the Tide as double-digit favorites in 11 of its 12 regular-season games (with the outlier being an 8-point cushion at LSU). Whether it’s Hurts or Tagovailoa behind center doesn’t change anything much.
“I know Jalen’s not the passer Tua is,” Edwards said. “But he only threw 1 interception last year. That’s damn good. Now, he won’t take the chances that Tua will take or that a lot of dropback passers take, but if you start 15 games and throw 1 interception all year, that’s amazing. I don’t think [the decision to start Hurts in 2018] would change anything about Alabama’s numbers.”
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The primary factor in Alabama’s run toward another title is the impressive combination of talent and depth that coach Nick Saban somehow puts together on an annual basis.
“They reload,” Edwards said. “They don’t rebuild. And their quarterback situation is better than anybody else’s in America, assuming Hurts doesn’t decide to transfer here soon. Just loaded on both sides. Five-stars everywhere.”
Another thing that helps: Alabama’s relatively easy 2018 schedule.
“They get Tennessee [+28] out of the East forever, and Tennessee has sucked for the last decade,” Edwards said. “Louisville [+29], when they scheduled that game, they were thinking they’d be good, but they just lost Lamar Jackson and a ton of folks, so you’ve got that huge spread.”
Regardless of what Edwards says, fans are still going to be choosing sides in the Hurts vs. Tagovailoa battle. Who knows? Maybe Saban will decide to run a two-quarterback offense in 2018.
How will the Alabama quarterback battle shake out? And what effect will that have on the season? Let us know in the comments section below.