The American Football Coaches Association announced its 2013 All-American team Tuesday, and the majority of the usual suspects from this year's All-American crop -- Aaron Donald, David Yankey, C.J. Mosley, Andre Williams -- all featured.
But the AFCA also threw a couple of curveballs into their selection, most notably with Alabama's AJ McCarron getting the first-team nod at quarterback over Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.
Every Division I head coach is eligible to vote for the team, with the balloting then taken into account by a selection committee that makes the final decisions. AFCA media relations official Vince Thompson told CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd that a majority of the ballots returned named McCarron at quarterback -- but that the committee considered Winston and several other signal-callers as well.
"(Winston) was discussed heavily as were McCarron, Johnny Manziel, Jordan Lynch and Derek Carr. They were all top vote getters," Thompson told Dodd. "They had a lively discussion. McCarron led voting. The majority of head coaches picked McCarron. It's everybody's own opinion."
The coaches participating on the selection committee were Baylor's Art Briles, Rutgers' Kyle Flood, Duke's David Cutcliffe, Rice's David Bailiff, Alabama's Nick Saban, Michigan's Brady Hoke, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, former Eastern Michigan coach Ron English, Colorado State's Jim McElwain -- who, it must be noted, coached McCarron at Alabama -- and Stanford's David Shaw.
McCarron's candidacy for postseason honors has been a hot-topic debate throughout the season as media and coaches alike try to weigh his impact within the Crimson Tide's statistics-shy offensive system against his competitors' numbers-superior profiles, his team's years of success on McCarron's watch against how much of a role McCarron did or didn't play in that success. In the end, both the SEC's media and coaches -- who both named Johnny Manziel first-team All-SEC, with the AP relegating McCarron to honorable mention behind Aaron Murray -- decided McCarron hadn't done enough for first-team consideration. Heisman voters disagreed, naming McCarron the trophy's runner-up behind Winston.
The opinion here: McCarron is a truly outstanding quarterback, the best at Alabama in a generation. But if you're a pro-style quarterback in a run-first offense who offers little in the ground game and doesn't pile up the passing yards, you'd better excel in the efficiency department ... and while Winston was busy leading the nation in both yards per-attempt and QB rating, McCarron was finishing fourth in the SEC in the first statistic and third in the league in the second. There's an argument to be made that McCarron should get the All-SEC nod anyway, but naming him the best quarterback in the country is a stretch.
It should also be noted, however, that the Walter Camp Foundation -- despite naming Winston its Player of the Year -- made the same decision on its All-America team.
The complete AFCA team:
WR: Mike Evans, Texas A&M; Sammy Watkins, Clemson
TE: Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
OL: Jake Matthews, Texas A&M; Cyril Richardson, Baylor; Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma; Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama; David Yankey, Stanford
QB: AJ McCarron, Alabama
RB: Andre Williams, Boston College; Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona
DL: Michael Sam, Missouri; Aaron Donald, Pitt; Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas; Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
LB: Trent Murphy, Stanford; Anthony Barr, UCLA; C.J. Mosley, Alabama
DB: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State; Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State; Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama; Ahmad Dixon, Baylor
P: Tom Hornsey, Memphis
PK: Anthony Fera, Texas
AP: Ty Montgomery, Stanford