Tua Tagovailoa may already be better than the crack, no matter what that means, but he must be better than Jalen Hurts this season if he wants to be recognized as one of the biggest in the world. ;Alabama.
It was former quarterback Trent Dilfer – a brilliant brilliant word, this guy – who recently said that Tagovailoa was such a good quarterback that he was like "the ultimate ice cream on crack". The addictive hype around Tua is ridiculous from the second and the 26th place, but let's be sober to change. He was not very good against Georgia in the SEC championship, and he was outclassed in the national championship game by Clemson.
On Saturday, he did not play his spring match against Bryant-Denny Stadium in Alabama. Tua's white team lost 31-17 to Crimson's team. He had his moments, but it was not a performance very similar to that of Tua.
A bit like the national championship game.
For Alabama, it's time to start worrying. For all others, it's time to compare.
Some of the shots that Tagovailoa tried in San Jose were terrible, and Hurts, the substitute quarterback, saved the season in Atlanta. Despite all the grandeur of Tagovailoa in 2018 against mediocre teams (LSU, Auburn and Oklahoma), his difficulties in the league match marked his first full season.
Now he is junior and he can be recruited into the NFL at the same season next year. People like good old Trent are so confident that this is Tua's last season in Alabama. Even before being screened as a first-round pick, Tua still has a lot to prove. (Trent, for the record, said Tua was already a better prospect than Dan Marino, Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers.)
The crack kills, Trent.
And the hype too.
Expectations for Tua have to be compressed a little before the start of the season. Good luck, no? Not after the second and 26th goals, nor after the record of last season with Iron Bowl. With hindsight, however, Alabama may not have even participated in the playoffs of college football last year without Hurts, the substitute quarterback.
How will Tua perform against elite defenses this season? Can he stay healthy? These stories will not be answered until the fall, but a question is beginning to arise this spring.
And this will determine how we will remember Tua's well from his last season.
How will he perform this season compared to Hurts? They will be compared against each other all season and from now on.
Tua completed 19 of her 37 attempts Saturday with a total of 265 yards. He had a touchdown on the ground, but also an interception. Statistically, Crimson's quarterback Mac Jones surpassed Tua. Jones was 19 out of 23 for 274 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
On Friday, Hurts completed 11 of his 14 pass attempts for a 174-yard touchdown win.
Last year, Tua left Hurts. Hurts is now in Oklahoma and his singular mission in life is to win the national championship. Showing Tua along the way would be a bonus. Of course, all the championships of the Nick Saban era pass through Alabama. As a result, a showdown between Hurts and Tua in the playoffs is not that difficult.
Alabama faced Oklahoma at the Orange Bowl in January and Oklahoma played in three of the first five playoffs. They are also a favorite of the season with the Hurts.
Hurts will probably not be named official Oklahoma starter until the fall, but he has not been replaced by a replacement. He will be the starter, and each pitch and run will be analyzed by both Alabama fans and Big 12 locals alike.
Hurts is well liked in Alabama for the way he placed the team before himself last season. Remember, people were absolutely certain that Hurts would use his red shirt and close it after the first games, then transfer it.
Yes, that did not happen.
Instead, Hurts went from 26-2 as a starter to saving Tua. Hurts' leadership off the bench was inspiring. Then, against Georgia, Hurts saved the scarlet tide.
Tua could not finish the job.
Joseph Goodman is a columnist for the Alabama Media Group. He's on Twitter @ JoeGoodmanJr.