Alabama football: How long will Tide fans have to wait before Bryce Young starts?

Bryce Young. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Bryce Young. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

Mac Jones is the Alabama Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback, but Bryce Young has next.

Bryce Young will play this fall for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

When a Power 5 program lands a star quarterback from the other side of the country, this team is compelled to give him at least a handful of opportunities to make plays as a true freshman. Even with the new eligibility rules, we should still expect Young to play in more than four games as a true freshman at Alabama. How soon will it be before he is named the Crimson Tide’s starter?

Well, he’ll have to beat out the incumbent Mac Jones, who started down the stretch for Alabama once Tua Tagovailoa succumbed to a season-ending injury. With Tagovailoa going pro and his younger brother Taulia transferring to the Maryland Terrapins, it opens up the possibility of a true freshman quarterback like Young to start.

Even in a global pandemic, where it will make things incredibly difficult for Young to surpass Jones on the Alabama quarterbacking depth chart early into the season, it’s only a matter of time before he’s named the Crimson Tide starter. Here is what CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee had to say about the inevitable Alabama quarterbacking competition that is brewing.

“I think Mac Jones is a guy who can get you to a playoff but maybe not win you a playoff,” said Sallee. “Bryce Young is probably a guy that can win you a playoff…I do think Bryce Young takes over by the end of the season.”

When will Bryce Young be the starting quarterback of the Alabama Crimson Tide?

Sallee mentioned the big key is the Week 3 game vs. the Georgia Bulldogs. Alabama has defeated the Dawgs the last five times they played, almost always in heart-breaking fashion for Georgia. However, the last time the Dawgs played in Tuscaloosa, they beat Nick Saban in his first year on the job in 2007. Anything is possible, as these are two of the best programs in college football.

It might be a home game for the Crimson Tide, but both rival teams have comparably strong defenses. We know the Dawgs and the Tide love to pound the rock. Where Alabama has had a distinct advantage, outside of the coaching department, of course, is at quarterback. Jake Fromm was never going to be as good as the older Tagovailoa brother. The 2020 NFL Draft told us that.

However, the gap may have shrunk with Jones emerging as the lock to start Week 1 for Alabama vs. the USC Trojans. Georgia added former Wake Forest Demon Deacons quarterback Jamie Newman in the graduate transfer market. He adds a dual-threat presence and a fantastic deep ball game the Dawgs haven’t had in a very long time, if ever. It’s a now push at quarterback.

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Though Young will play throughout the year, the earliest we can see him starting would be the week after Alabama were to lose to Georgia. A loss to the Dawgs puts the Crimson Tide’s playoff chances on life support. One more conference loss knocks them out entirely, regardless of who it comes against. Georgia is expected to lose this game anyway, so the Dawgs face no pressure here.

Should Jones and the Crimson Tide defeat the Dawgs at Bryant-Denny, he’ll keep the starting job until Young proves enough in practice or in spot duty that he is the guy. That may not come until October, November or maybe even next year. What we do know is a loss to Georgia at home would force Young in there right away, as the Crimson Tide have nothing left to lose at that point.

Expect Young to play early, but the quickest he’d start is Week 4 after a potential Alabama loss to Georgia.

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