"The guy's fabulous," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "He throws a great ball. He's intelligent in how he plays. He manages the game. He's a leader for their team. He makes very few mistakes. He throws the football well to some great receivers.
"He's all you want in a quarterback."
And at one point, however briefly, McCarron wanted to play for Oklahoma, the team he's finishing his career against.
"It's crazy, because the night before I decided to pick the school, I was gonna sign with Oklahoma, so it's just crazy that I'm playing them," he said.
"I just liked their football. And then you had (quarterback) Sam Bradford there, so during recruiting as a 17-, 18-year-old, your mind changes about 20 times a day. At the moment, I guess they were just the hot school that I wanted to go to. I'm pretty sure I probably before that night thought about a bunch of other schools, too."
Things have worked out quite well for both McCarron and the Tide.
He'll leave with a number of Alabama records, including career passing yards (8,632), touchdowns (75) and completion percentage (67.0). McCarron just won't go out with a three-peat.
"AJ has done a fantastic job here for us," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "I'd like to see AJ have the opportunity to play well in his last game, for the team to have success. I'm sure he's a little disappointed that we are where we are. I think that he's had a great career here. He's certainly won some marvelous awards that have recognized the career that he's had here.
"I think he's going to have a great future as a football player. I'd just really like to see it end the right way for him here in terms of his performance and our team's performance."