Alabama fans can’t help but root for Jalen Hurts, who shined at OU

Lincoln Riley (l.) and Jalen Hurts

Lincoln Riley (l.) and Jalen Hurts
Picture: Getty Images

We need a decision on which campus can claim which player now that college players are transferring at a record rate. Is it the place where the player ends his career? So much for being a college football fan means measuring your program against everyone else, and one of the ways we do that is by pointing out all the alumni in the NFL. I saw some columnist from Tuscaloosa writing pro-Jalen The column hurts, and he almost spat.

Now I’m making a decision: unless a player finishes his career at your school, you can’t claim him. Sorry NC State fans and Virginia Tech fans.

There are so many reasons Alabama fans can’t take credit for Hurts. None of them will take away his time there. Those voracious fans cheered for him, and he achieved a lot in red and white.

All that said: Where does greed end?

You can’t spell surplus without the SEC

How many national titles and Heisman trophy winners will be enough? Tide fans walk into every conversation so pleased with themselves that they can’t help but pull out their big box of trophies and throw it on the table. It’s a wonder why they even pull on their pants.

FromVonta Smith is already with the Eagles. Alabama is represented. Stop jumping on Hurts’ athlete just because Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones aren’t future Hall of Famers. Nick Saban chose Tu over Jalen, and although Saban told Hurts to take the OU job, Hurts regressed under the Tide’s coaching staff.

Lincoln Riley saved Hurts’ career, not Saban’s altruism

Alabama’s calling card has always been defense. Saban eventually realized the offensive revolution through high-quality O-coordinators, but the Tide used to rely more on the ground game than it does now. There were a whole host of game managers before Hurts — your AJ McCarrons and Greg McIlroys — and that’s more or less how the future Super Bowl quarterback was asked to work at Alabama.

Bama fans look back fondly on Hurts for being gracious when Tagovailoa took over QB1 duties, but Tua’s size wasn’t the only reason fans moved on from Hurts so readily. A year after throwing for 2,700 yards and 23 touchdowns as a freshman, Hurts barely cracked the 2,000-yard mark as a sophomore and never threw the ball more than 24 times in a game.

He attempted 23 passes in his first game as a Sooner, then amassed 3,800 yards through the air and another 1,200 on the ground for 53 total scores (32 passing, 20 rushingone receiving). He finished second in the Heisman voting in his one and only season at Oklahoma, and likely would have been the fourth Lincoln Riley protégé to win if not for Joe Burrow’s crazy senior year at LSU.

Before fans don’t have much — give them this

Oklahoma exactly had his first sub-.500 season by John Blake been the coach, Brent Venablers can’t find his defensive magic in his crease, and their last coach-QB combination won the Heisman and came away hurt from the College Football Playoff. (Honestly, I don’t feel sorry for the OU faithful. They’ve had great results in recent years. But I hate Alabama, so whatever makes my case stronger.)

The SEC will merge with OU’s trophy home anyway, so Hurts will be a conference brand as long as he’s in the NFL. And it looks like it’s going to be a long, long time.

Maybe even long enough to stop hating Alabama, though I doubt it.

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