Andrew Zow: The Highs and Lows of Life as a Black QB at Alabama

Alabama quarterback Andrew Zow (5) sprints past Iowa State defensive back Atif Austin on his way to a touchdown. Alabama edged the Cyclones, 14-13, in the Independence Bowl on Thursday night in Shreveport, La. (AP Photo)
Alabama quarterback Andrew Zow (5) sprints past Iowa State defensive back Atif Austin on his way to a touchdown. Alabama edged the Cyclones, 14-13, in the Independence Bowl on Thursday night in Shreveport, La. (AP Photo)
Alabama quarterback Andrew Zow (5) sprints past Iowa State defensive back Atif Austin on his way to a touchdown. Alabama edged the Cyclones, 14-13, in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. in 2001 (AP Photo)

(Bleacher Report) – At the onset of the season, there was a battle between Blake Sims and Jacob Coker to see just who would succeed AJ McCarron as Alabama’s starting quarterback. In a state where college football is a religion, this was a heavily scrutinized tug of war.

While this played out, there was a not-so-subtle element of race bubbling beneath the surface. Sims is black, Coker’s white—there were questions if more than merit was at play. ‘Bama blogs and Facebook comment threads wondered aloud if race would be a factor.

Columnists suggested that SEC Network analyst Andre Ware favored Sims for the job primarily to champion a fellow black QB. In a region of the country with a complex history of race relations and at a school once on the wrong side of civil rights when Gov. George Wallace infamously stood in a doorway to block two black students from enrolling, it was no surprise that the quarterback battle would be framed this way.

Before Blake Sims this year, Andrew Zow was the last African-American quarterback to start at Alabama, playing from 1998 to 2002. Zow had an up-and-down career, playing through the turmoil of coach Mike DuBose’s final year and the uncertainty of Dennis Franchione’s two seasons as coach.

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