It's spring in Athens, amd while the Georgia Bulldogs are getting ready for the 2013 campaign we're looking at whether Aaron Murray truly is preparing for a season for the ages.
Dawg Sports reader Dawg Haus is currently in the midst of a must-read series looking at the best games played between the Georgia Bulldogs and the teams on their upcoming schedule. It's the kind of stuff that we here at Dawg Sports love because, like the longest running feature around these parts, the Mark Richt Victory Watch, we like to view college football's present as part of the broad sweep of gridiron history.
And while we may have to wait quite a few years to find out if Mark Richt indeed retires as the winningest coach in Bulldog pigskin history, Aaron Murray's legacy in the Classic City will be secured within the next few months.
The numbers don't lie. Aaron Murray is on track to become the most statistically dominant passer in Bulldog history. He already holds the record for career touchdown passes (95) by a wide margin. He's a mere 1437 yards short of David Greene's UGA/SEC record for career passing yards, which at last year's clip could be reached within 4 games. His current 61.5% career completion percentage is well ahead of Eric Zeier's career 59.77% mark.
Projecting where Murray's numbers will end is a perilous task. Of course there are the standard risks associated with such projections. Players get (spit on the ground, turn around three times, scream "no jinx!") injured, they get taken out in the 4th quarter of blowouts. They hand the ball off to pairs of talented sophomore tailbacks. But in Murray's case it's perhaps even more difficult because his career has not followed a smooth trajectory. Murray's 2012 campaign consisting of 249 completions on 386 attempts (64.5% completion percentage), 3893 yards, 36 touchdowns, and a 174.8 passer rating was head and shoulders above his freshman and sophomore efforts.
We can say that another season close to that productivity level would result in a career touchdown record of 125+, a number which would be very hard to catch. Similar yardage would put Murray in the vicinity of 14,000 yards for his career, a number which would, to put things in context, nearly doubles the career numbers of such passers as Ryan Mallett (7493), and Jason Campbell (7299), and more than doubles the numbers of JaMarcus Russell (6625), Brodie Croyle (6385), Mike Bobo (6334), and A.J. McCarron (5956).
To be fair, McCarron has some time to raise that number. And he also has two rings which he probably wouldn't trade to Murray in exchange for all that yardage. And if there's any hole in Murray's resume, that's it. He hasn't become the first Bulldog signal caller since Buck Belue to start for a national champion. He's made the same number of SEC Championship game appearances as David Greene, but he hasn't won one yet. Murray's senior season will, barring catastrophe, be a statistical success. As will his career. But I would submit that Murray is one truly special team effort from going down in history as the most successful quarterback in modern Bulldog football, and doing so without it even being particularly close.
And that, among other reasons, is why I can't wait for kickoff. Until later . . .