Jalen vs. Tua: The debate that will never end just took a scary turn for Bama fans
Skip Bayless is getting an unbelievable amount of blowback from the Crimson Tide Nation after offering this steaming-hot take Sunday night on the Electronic Twitter Machine …
“I gotta believe somewhere in the back of his mind Nick Saban is second-guessing going with Tua over Jalen. But he’d obviously never admit that publicly.”
Now listen, Skip Bayless is a blowhard of the first order. Skip Bayless is the innovator of the current “say something outrageous to get attention” television programming landscape we live in today. Skip Bayless is a maroon, a doofus and a simpleton all rolled up into one.
And Skip Bayless is right.
That sentence was painful to write. And we are sure it is painful to read.
But Skip Bayless is right.
Look, arguing over whether Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts is a better quarterback has been a de facto sport in Alabama barber shops, watering holes and churches for going on 3 years now. Ever since Hurts and the Crimson Tide came up … 1 … second … short to Clemson in the 2016 CFP National Championship Game, Crimson Tide fans ramped up the search for The Guy who could take The Team over the hump in The Game — and pretty much banged the Tagovailoa Drum all during the 2017 season.
It wasn’t fair to Hurts when it was happening, as all he did was win the SEC Freshman of the Year award, score the go-ahead touchdown in the title game only to finish 0:01 short of a perfect season and just keep on winning the following season.
All that changed, as we know. Hurts was ineffective in the first half against Georgia in the 2017 CFP title game and Saban made the shocking halftime switch to Tagovailoa. Second-and-26 and whatnot later, Alabama was slipping on a 17th national championship ring and Hurts suddenly looked like junk alongside a country road.
Cast aside, Hurts took the high road all during the 2018 season while Tua carved up opposing defenses. He even replicated the switcheroo against Georgia (poor Kirby Smart) in the SEC Championship Game by replacing an injured Tagovailoa and leading Alabama to victory.
But it all left Nick Saban and the Alabama coaches with a near-impossible situation — which QB do you choose? Ultimately, Saban stayed with Alabama’s sweet Hawaiian prince and wished Hurts (a graduate and thus eligible for immediate transfer under NCAA rules) well in his future endeavors.
Flash forward to Sunday night. Fresh off the glow of Tagovailoa’s sparkling effort against mighty Duke — 26-of-31 passing for 336 yards and 4 touchdowns in one play less than 3 quarters of work — the Crimson Tide Nation settled down in their crimson-colored La-Z-Boys to watch Hurts and Oklahoma square off against Houston.
Jalen Hurts looked great. Jalen Hurts looked awesome. Jalen Hurts looked like the guy Alabama fans wanted all along — a dual-threat machine that can pile up 500-plus all-purpose yards and 6 TDs in 3 quarters of play and make it look easy.
Perhaps the best part came postgame, when Hurt was less than thrilled with the overall offensive play of the Sooners. He was miffed he lost a 3rd-quarter fumble. He saw plenty of room for improvement.
And Hurts showed he had a chip on his shoulder — a chip that seemingly has been there since the rest of him was knocked off the Alabama QB Throne for the cardinal sin of going 26-2 as a starting quarterback.
“I’m back where I’m supposed to be,” Hurts said afterward.
“He’s waited a long time,” Hurts’ father, Averion Hurts, told ESPN’s Holly Rowe. “He’s back where … you could say he belongs.”
And while Nick Saban would never admit it publicly, you better believe he was watching Oklahoma-Houston with a bowl of Little Debbie oatmeal creme pies at his side thinking to himself “wow, we let that kid go?!?”
Of course, this Jalen-or-Tua thing is really a good problem to have “endured” the past 3 years. It got Alabama to all 3 national title games and won that 17th ring. It has exposed how much dignity a young man like Hurts can display when faced with the indignity of being benched despite going 26-2 as a starter. It landed Alabama a second Tagovailoa quarterback, as Tua’s brother Taulia is now a freshman backup for the Tide.
And even if you could just as easily argue that Saban and Alabama made the wrong decision by letting Hurts escape their grasp, all these words could have easily been arguing that Saban and Alabama made the *right* decision to choose Tagovailoa.
There were simultaneously no right and no wrong decisions when it comes to Hurts vs. Tagovailoa. To claim the high ground on one side or the other would just be silly.
But (and it still pains us to write as much as it pains you to read …) Skip Bayless is right.
Second-guessing the debate will inevitably continue out loud as long as Tagovailoa and Hurts continue their stellar play. And second-guessing the debate could even intensify if/when one of them stumbles. Second-guessing the debate would reach a fevered pitch should Alabama and Oklahoma meet in the College Football Playoff.
Woe unto those who have to share a room with Skip Bayless’ head if that happens.