McCarron likely would've been the clear backup going into 2010, behind a sophomore who wasn't motivated to leave school early even though he likely would've been a high draft pick.
Allen tried to stick with OU, playing sparingly in 2010-12. Once he graduated, Allen took advantage of NCAA rules and transferred to Syracuse, where he was immediately eligible.
It's hard to imagine McCarron hanging around that long.
Instead of what could've been a turbulent start to his career, the four-star quarterback from Mobile, 200 miles down the road from Tuscaloosa, kept his commitment and signed with the Crimson Tide.
He eased into the starting role with Alabama, redshirting in 2009 and serving as the holder and the backup QB to Greg McElroy in 2010.
By 2011, McCarron seized the starting job and led the Crimson Tide to back-to-back national titles. He had Alabama on track for a third before the wild finish against Auburn last month.
He's thrown for more than 8,600 yards and has 75 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions.
This week, he's making the rounds around the country to several college football awards ceremonies, ending in New York on Saturday for the presentation of the Heisman Trophy. McCarron is one of six finalists.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said earlier this week that he pick McCarron if he had a vote, calling McCarron the best player in the country.
McCarron called it “crazy” that his final college game will come against the team that was nearly his.