Alabama did not dominate this college football season in the same way it often has over the last decade. There were questions, many legitimate, about the Crimson Tide's place near the top of the AP Poll for nearly the entire fall. The noise grew loudest after they needed four overtimes to beat unranked Auburn.
Then everything grew quiet after Bryce Young and Alabama's talented receivers decimated Georgia's top-ranked defense in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama once again finds itself with the top seed going into the College Football Playoff. All is well with the world.
Now that the CFP matchups have been announced, analysis turns to the key players that will be featured on December 31st, under a more intense microscope than they've seen all season. Young, as the quarterback who makes it all work, will receive more than his fair share of praise and criticism over the next few weeks.
Dan Orlovsky kicked off the proceedings today and said Young reminds him of Aaron Rodgers while explaining that the Crimson Tide quarterback would easily be the top pick in this year's NFL draft if he was eligible.
Saying Young would be the top selection isn't really a bold proclamation. Orlovsky is right to say it, of course, but it has more to do with the value the position holds in football and the complete lack of other top tier prospects. Young is talented, for sure, but Orlovsky invoking Rodgers' name is the bigger claim in this segment.
Physically, the two are different. Young is built more like Kyler Murray than he is Rodgers, standing at 6-foot even and weighing 194 pounds. Rodgers is two inches taller and 30 pounds heavier. But Orlovsky is talking about the release and flight path of the ball. He's closer to the mark in that regard.
They both make it look easy. Rodgers is obviously better at it, as he is pretty much everything compared to a redshirt freshman, but for Young to even vaguely resemble the all-time great is exceptionally high praise indeed. They can both throw a real pretty deep ball, that's for sure.
It's up to Young to live up to these kinds of expectations, and nobody should be holding him to any that include rising to the level of a future Hall of Famer. But he is certainly off to a good start, with 43 touchdowns and only four picks to go with 4,322 yards in the air in his first season as starter. Young is getting off on the right foot in his quest to fulfill Orlovsky's 2023 first overall pick prophesy.