“King Crimson” AJ McCarron on this week’s SI cover

In this week’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (11/25/13)—on newsstands now— executive editor L. Jon Wertheim writes about Alabama’s big man on campus and he doesn’t mean Nick Saban. No, the Big Mac in Tuscaloosa is quarterback AJ McCarron, Bama’s master of passing efficiency, who is on the brink of leading the Crimson Tide to its third national championship in four years. Writes Wertheim, “McCarron might be almost as well known for his arm candy as his arm strength, his body ink as his body of work. But let’s be clear: He’s not just one of the great Alabama quarterbacks. AJ McCarron is on the short list of the most successful players in the history of college football. Even if not many think of him that way.” (Page 39)

Despite his 35 wins in Tuscaloosa and two BCS titles, McCarron has never been a Heisman finalist or a first-team All-America. Instead of being considered one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, he’s routinely labeled as a “game manager.” He plays on a team with an old-school philosophy and with a stern disciplinarian and perfectionist as its head coach.. “He has as many national championships as he does defeats,” writes Wertheim. “He holds the Bama record for passing yards (8,184) and touchdowns (70). He has yet to lose a road game. In an offense designed to pick up as much on the ground as in the air, he still tosses for 222.8 yards a game.” (Page 41)

Joe Namath, who won a national championship at Alabama in 1964 under legendary coach Paul (Bear) Bryant and who Bryant referred to as “the greatest athlete I ever coached,” has nothing but high praise and high hopes for McCarron. “Everything AJ has shown has been positive,” Namath says. “He’s productive in the right way. He’s excelled under pressure. He plays well in big games. He’s a leader. He’s carried himself beautifully. He’s going to go into those interviews and wow them. He’ll be successful [in the NFL], and anyone who knows football knows why.” (Page 45)

Calvin Johnson appears on this week’s national cover of Sports Illustrated; Alabama’s Josh Chapman on a Southeast regional cover

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Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson appears on the national cover of this week’s Oct. 10, 2011, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands Wednesday. In addition, Alabama nosetackle Josh Chapman appears on a regional cover that will appear in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Below is the last time each team appeared on the cover and how many appearances they’ve had overall.

An additional regional cover touting our 2011-12 NHL Preview will be revealed later this morning. The pink Sports Illustrated logo on this week’s national cover is in acknowledgement of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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2011 College Football Preview: Can the No. 1 Crimson Tide Roll to a Second National Title in Three Years?

Five teams share the honors of gracing the cover for Sports Illustrated’s 2011 College Football Preview (dated Aug. 22 and on newsstands tomorrow): No. 1 Alabama (RB Trent Richardson), No. 2 Oklahoma (QB Landry Jones), No. 4 Stanford (QB Andrew Luck), No. 7 South Carolina (WR Alshon Jeffery) and No. 9 Nebraska (DT Jared Crick).

Those are just five team’s in SI’s preseason Top 25. To find out the rest, go to Sports Illustrated’s official Facebook page and, if you’re not already a fan, click the “Like” button. Then, on the lefthand side of the page, click “Fan’s Only” (third option from the top) to see our Top 25, which includes video previews of Teams 1-9 from SI.com senior writers Stewart Mandel and Andy Staples.

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Crimson Tide Athletes Help Heal a Community That Has Always Cheered Them On

I’ve worked at the magazine for nearly 17 years, and this was the most emotionally-charged, heartbreaking story I’ve ever written. But from the piece I hope the readers take away a sense of hope, which is a very real, prevelent feeling right now in Tuscaloosa. – Lars Anderson

Crimson Tide Athletes Help Heal a Community That Has Always Cheered Them On

Bid on Items in Sports Illustrated Alabama Relief Auction to Benefit the American Red Cross

(NEW YORK – May 17, 2011) – The cover story of this week’s May 23, 2011, issue of Sports Illustrated—on newsstands tomorrow—documents both the aftermath of the deadly tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa, Ala., on April 27 and how the Crimson Tide athletic community is helping in the relief effort. To download a hi-res JPEG of this week’s cover, click here.

When the most powerful tornado in the history of Alabama ripped through “T-Town” with winds of up to 190 mph, it caused damage that will take years to recover from. Senior writer Lars Anderson (@LarsAndersonSI), who lives in Birmingham and taught a sportswriting class at the University of Alabama this spring, spoke with several students and Tuscaloosa residents, each of whom has their own story from that tragic day. The outpouring of support from the Alabama athletic community has included but has not been limited to:

More than $1 million in donations to the relief effort from the school’s athletic department.

Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Javier Arenas, a member of the Crimson Tide’s 2009 national championship team, bought $1,600 worth of supplies and Tweeted that he would give it away outside of a mall.

15 members of Alabama’s baseball team helped a mother of one of the six students killed search the wreckage for a white dress that the mother wanted to bury her daughter in.

Says football coach Nick Saban: “We can create a psychological escape for the people of this town. They have a great passion for sports, and we’ll be there for them.”

Sports Illustrated is helping with the recovery effort with an Alabama relief auction to benefit the American Red Cross. Users can bid on items such as a dinner anywhere in the continental U.S. with Peter King, two tickets to the 2011 Sportsman of the Year Celebration in New York later this year, classic Crimson Tide cover reprints and custom print photographs of Joe Namath and Bear Bryant signed by legendary photographer Neil Leifer. To bid on an item, click here. Items will be open for bidding between now and 2-3 pm EST on May 25.



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