Auburn's Jarrett Stidham will get his shot at No. 1 Alabama next week in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 25. If he can't do it, then Georgia's Jake Fromm will take his turn in the SEC championship game on Dec. 2.
Which quarterback do you think has a better chance of taking down the Crimson Tide? Stidham led No. 6 Auburn to a 42-14 victory against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday. Fromm led No. 7 Georgia to a 42-13 victory against Kentucky a few hours later, setting the table for an intriguing two-week chase to the College Football Playoff within the SEC.
Make no mistake, that quarterback needs to bring his best game to beat undefeated Alabama. The Crimson Tide have lost just seven games since 2012, and most of those came by way of fantastic quarterback play:
|Nov. 10, 2012||Johnny Manziel||253||92||345||2|
|Nov. 30, 2013||Nick Marshall||97||99||196||3|
|Jan. 2, 2014||Trevor Knight||348||7||355||4|
|Oct. 4, 2014||Bo Wallace||251||32||283||3|
|Jan. 1, 2015||Cardale Jones||243||43||286||1|
|Sept. 19, 2015||Chad Kelly||341||21||362||4|
|Jan. 9, 2017||Deshaun Watson||420||43||463||4|
On top of those statistics? Those seven quarterbacks combined for just two interceptions against Alabama. They averaged 279 passing yards and 48.1 rushing yards in those victories.
With that in mind, here is the case for both quarterbacks:
The case for Stidham
Stidham is the hot quarterback — the one we expected in the preseason. Since losing to LSU on Oct. 14, Stidham is 73 of 102 (71.5 percent) with 935 passing yards, eight touchdowns and just two interceptions. He doesn't offer the same threat in the running game that Cam Newton and Nick Marshall did against Alabama, but he's a quarterback who can cause problems for any defense in Gus Malzahn's scheme when he's completing passes with that efficiency.
Auburn can already run the football, with Kerryon Johnson too. Of those lines above that beat the Tide, Stidham would have to bring something similar to what Wallace did for Ole Miss in 2014.
The case for Fromm
Georgia is going to have to unleash Fromm a little bit if it comes to that against Alabama. On one sequence against Kentucky on Saturday, Fromm ripped three straight passes for 63 yards as part of a six-play, 80-yard drive that put the Bulldogs ahead 14-6. He hit Terry Godwin with a 16-yard pass before ripping a 27-yard score to Javon Wims on a post route. That drive accounted for more than half of Fromm's passing yards in the game.
It's clear Georgia will lean on the running game no matter who the Bulldogs play, but Alabama will load the box to slow down Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Fromm is going to need to make some plays with his arm. He would have to play a game much like Cardale Jones did in the 2015 Sugar Bowl, with fewer rushing yards, of course.
If Stidham beats Alabama, then Fromm will be focused on a rematch with the Tigers instead. Fromm wouldn't be expected to carry Georgia to a win against Alabama: He'd be more of a game manager. Stidham, meanwhile, must have a big game at home for the Tigers to have a chance. That's why the Iron Bowl is that much more interesting heading into Rivalry Week. Stidham, like Newton and Marshall, has a unique opportunity to knock Alabama out of the SEC championship race. That's why he's our pick — at least for a week.