Hurts or Stidham? The debate started with one ranking from Sports Illustrated and likely will continue at SEC Media Days starting Monday.
Stidham wowed fans and media members during spring ball with his arm talent for Auburn — where he transferred after leaving Baylor and spending 2016 away from competitive football. While Hurts he isn’t the most polished passer in the league, he did lead Alabama to an SEC championship and the national title game as a true freshman.
The debate spilled over into Twitter last week. College football analyst Barrett Sallee, now with CBS Sports, posed the question between Hurts and Stidham in one of his weekly podcast segments:
Jarrett Stidham vs. Jalen Hurts: Who do you want in 2017 for your team?… https://t.co/o04cUwNtkv
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) July 4, 2017
The responses to Sallee’s question ranged from incredulous Hurts supporters to confident Stidham backers.
I can't believe this is a serious question. Stidham hasn't proved anything yet. Stop with this click bait garbage.
— Hunter (@high_t1de) July 4, 2017
Stidham hasn't played football in over a year. When he did play, it was like 4 games in the Big 12. How can anyone be so excited?
— J G (@jg9595) July 4, 2017
Stidham and it's not close IMO.
— Nick Stelzner (@B1Gfootballdude) July 4, 2017
Stidham. The kid can drop dimes deep
— Kurt Pimentel (@Kurtpimentel) July 4, 2017
The two quarterbacks will presumably square off Nov. 25 at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium. As Tony Tsoukalas of Bama Insider wrote in April, this year’s Iron Bowl could feature the first meeting between two elite quarterbacks in quite some time.
“Perhaps the closest we’ve come to having two prime-time quarterbacks in the Iron Bowl recently was in 2014 when Blake Sims led Alabama to a 55-44 victory over (Nick) Marshall in Bryant-Denny Stadium,” Tsoukalas wrote. “If we are in store for a replica of that game this season in Jordan-Hare Stadium, sign me up. Given the talent possessed by both quarterbacks, the thought isn’t entirely impossible either.”
The reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Year will go up against the biggest pickup in in the transfer market. But who will have the better season?
Stidham has less experience as a starting quarterback, but he’s arguably a better fit for his offense. New Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey will expand the Tigers passing attack in 2017, which is a perfect match for the Texas gunslinger who grew up running a similar run-pass option-based scheme.
Hurts, on the other hand, thrived as a playmaker last season for Lane Kiffin, who embraced a spread-option game to great success. Kiffin is now gone and Brian Daboll is the new coordinator. He comes from the NFL and his offenses have been known to stretch the field. Downfield passing was arguably Hurts’ biggest weakness in what was a fantastic freshman campaign.
Still, Hurts has already won at the highest level in the SEC, while Stidham’s next start against competition in college football’s best conference will be his first. Hurts has a true go-to star receiver in Calvin Ridley, Stidham will be working with an inexperienced wideout group, though it is one on the rise. Both players made the Maxwell Award watch list announced Monday.
Here’s a closer look:
|75||SI Top 100 ranking||74|
|Aug. 7, 1998||Birthdate||Aug. 8, 1996|
|Channelview||Texas high school||Stephenville|
|15 (2016)||Games||10 (2015)|
|14 (13-1)||Starts (W-L)||3 (2-1 )|
While the debate rages, SEC Country wants to know what you think: