Marc Guillon's last start at quarterback came in 2001 -- for Miramonte High School in suburban Oakland, Calif. This afternoon, he'll start for Alabama in Fayetteville, Ark., where the Crimson Tide hasn't won since 1996 and where it must put behind the memory of blowing a three-touchdown lead in a double-overtime loss to the Razorbacks last year.
Guillon is in this position for several reasons. The most obvious is that Alabama Coach Mike Shula -- who just might share the On the Spot designation if this doesn't work out -- left starter Brodie Croyle in for the first series of the second half of last week's game against Division I-AA Western Carolina, a game the Tide led 31-0. Croyle tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and is done for the season.
Enter Guillon, who didn't even begin his career in Tuscaloosa. He signed with Miami before his junior year of high school, but spent just one year with the Hurricanes, throwing five passes. He transferred to Alabama, won the backup job in camp, and completed 5 of 7 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown after Croyle's injury.
"This is my team now," Guillon said this week. It had better be. The Tide has outscored Utah State, Mississippi and Western Carolina 128-24 in starting 3-0 for the first time since 1996. But Arkansas, which nearly knocked off No. 5 Texas, is just a tad better than those squads. Now, it's up to Guillon to direct the Tide to its first bowl since 2001.