Sit a former Alabama quarterback down with Paul Finebaum and have him talk about Auburn. That’s a recipe for fireworks, right? Not in Greg McElroy’s case.
In fact, the former Crimson Tide signal caller may have raised some eyebrows in a much different way than many may have anticipated.
He likes Auburn this year. And he’s pretty bullish about their chances in the SEC West this year.
“I do think that Auburn’s going to be quite good and will pose a test to Alabama, too,” McElroy said when explaning to Finebaum why he believed that the Tigers were a better choice than LSU when stacking the SEC West contenders for 2017.
But don’t be alarmed, Alabama fans. He didn’t cross that line.
“Alabama is certainly the best in the business,” he said quickly after giving Auburn its due. “It’s the best program in college football and to pick against them, I think, would be a bold strategy. I wouldn’t recommend it, given what they’ve done over the last few years with different quarterbacks.”
So why is McElroy so high on Auburn? The presence of former Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham in the Tigers’ offense, mostly.
“I think Jarrett Stidham is– by a pretty large margin– the best quarterback that Gus Malzahn has had since Cam Newton,” McElroy said. “He is very gifted as a deep-ball thrower. Auburn is always going to run the ball effectively. They’re always going to play with remarkable tempo. I think they have good personnel on defense, especially in the secondary. But I think that they really needed that quarterback. Sean White was gritty, he was tough and when he was healthy that offense was playing pretty well. And now, you have a guy who is gritty and tough and physically gifted that can also expose you with the deep ball. That’s a recipe for a lot of success offensively.”
If Auburn truly is the team capable of running down the Crimson Tide this year, that should make for a fun Iron Bowl to close the regular season on Nov. 25.