Aaron Murray Should Enter the NFL Draft

See you next year Alabama…or not.

Introduction
University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray faces a pretty big decision in the next two weeks of his young life.  Fresh off yet another impressive win in the Capital One Bowl versus a tenacious but ultimately outmatched Nebraska Cornhusker team, Murray is left to ponder whether or not to enter the NFL draft.  Should Murray turn pro?  We will examine the reasons why his choice should be a resounding moderate ‘yes’.

What Is Left to Accomplish By Coming Back?
After a 12-2 season and a top five finish in the polls, really there are only two hills left for Murray to climb, one personal and the other team-based.  The idea of coming back to shatter a ton of Georgia, SEC, and national passing records has to be appealing, and clearly Murray seems the kind of guy to return for the possibility of a national championship.  However, those two hills I mentioned earlier?  One is a mountain and its name is Alabama.  With the defense in complete rebuilding mode for 2013, I would wager this reality may keep Murray from even believing he can lead Georgia to a national championship…even with what is shaping up to be a dynamic and incredible UGA offense for 2013.

New Horizons/Fresh Opportunities
Aaron Murray has earned multiple diplomas at UGA, as well as leading the Bulldogs heroically through flush and fallow times.  At some point, any athlete is ready to grow to the next level of their chosen sport.  Murray, I am sure, is no exception.  The question remains, of course, whether the erstwhile Bulldog signal caller will feel that in leaving, his business at Georgia was not complete (Murray didn’t ‘finish the drill’).  While this is compelling stuff, the lure of millions of dollars and the national stage of the NFL may prove more compelling.

Dollars, Dollars, and More Dollars
Word is Murray’s initial NFL evaluation has him as a second or third round draft pick.  Considering the relative weakness for quarterbacks in this year’s NFL draft, this year may be Murray’s best opportunity to cash in big.  Is it possible by staying another year at UGA, Murray could improve his draft status?  Most certainly, especially given his reputation for falling short in big games (and Clemson, South Carolina, and LSU in the first four weeks of the 2013 season certainly provide a plethora of big game opportunities), but the possibility remains that Murray could become injured and the Bulldogs 1-3 before next year’s season is a month old.

Many pundits recommend Murray stay in school, finish his degree, enjoy the greatest years of his life, blah blah blah.  Who among us would have the discipline and restraint to not follow millions of dollars now, as opposed to later?

Georgia Bulldogs 2012 Schedule Preview – Postseason Edition

Bulldog Nation is rabid for a national championship.

As the college football regular season is mere hours from getting started, the point of final prognostication is upon us. When we last left the Georgia Bulldogs, they were riding high after finishing the regular season unbeaten at 12-0. As for which team from the SEC West will be awaiting the Dawgs in Atlanta, the slight edge goes to LSU.

The western portion of the SEC features three teams with a realistic opportunity to contend for the conference title. Arkansas (interim) head coach John L. Smith is playing with house money, because with the exception of Razorback faithful, there are not many folks who expect the Hogs to live up to the hype. Arkansas will be impressive on offense with senior quarterback Tyler Wilson at the controls, and they get standout tailback Knile Davis back from injury. Even so, the Razorbacks do not have enough on defense to stand up to the two-headed monster of Alabama and LSU. Prediction: nine regular season wins for Arkansas.

Alabama is coming off a national championship victory in 2011 and the Tide is certainly high in Tuscaloosa. However, the defending champions of college football lost a lot of talent to the NFL draft, along with some other players who graduated, which will likely leave the Tide on the outside looking in at the BCS championship picture this season. Alabama has a brutal road schedule as well, including a showdown with LSU in Baton Rouge. Nick Saban’s boys will contend for another title again soon, but it would be flat out scary for the rest of college football if Bama is able to defend their college football crown in 2012. Prediction: ten regular season wins for the Alabama Crimson Tide. (No team has ever repeat in the Bowl Championship Series era.) Continue reading

Georgia Bulldogs 2012 Schedule Preview – Part Three

(NOTE: For anyone who wants to look back, here is part one of the series, and here is part two.)

This crystal ball is not a homer, but it has been known to produce very accurate results.

The third and final look at the upcoming Georgia Bulldog football regular season begins with the homecoming game against Ole Miss on November 3. With all due respect to the Rebels, the only way this contest stays close is if it is played right after the Dawgs go to a homecoming party. Ole Miss won just two games in 2011, resulting in the departure of then head coach Huston Nutt. Hugh Freeze is the new face of Mississippi football, but I suspect hell would have to freeze over for Georgia to lose this one.

The Bulldogs hit the road for the final time in the 2012 looking for lucky win number ten in what could be a big time trap game in Auburn. The Bulldogs mauled the Tigers in 2011 by a final score of 45-7 during arguably the most impressive performance in Aaron Murray’s young career. Auburn will certainly be looking for revenge but it is hard to consider this Auburn team a serious threat based on last year. The coach Chizik era may end up being the biggest one hit wonder in the history of the BCS. The Dawgs get the victory by two touchdowns.

Following the conclusion of conference play, Georgia heads home for the conclusion of the regular season against a pair of in-state opponents.. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, the Golden Eagles of Georgia Southern and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets each run a similar offense, so Georgia should not be caught off guard by the triple option. Georgia Southern is a Football Championship Subdivision powerhouse, but they do not have enough to give the Dawgs a scare. Georgia continues their pursuit of perfection. Continue reading

Georgia Bulldogs 2012 Schedule Preview – Part Two

The second installment of this three part series picks up right where the first left off, with the Georgia Bulldogs at 4-0, ready to pounce on the Tennessee Volunteers to round out the first month of the college football season. Tennessee may very well enter Sanford Stadium undefeated as well if they can get by the Florida Gators in the third week of the season.

Whether it is justified or not, Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley is likely to spend the 2012 season on the hot seat. A victory in Athens would be the signature win that he has been looking for since his arrival in Knoxville. The junior Dooley has been close before when his Volunteers attempted to play the role of giant killer against LSU in 2010. The inexplicable conclusion of that game remains among the strangest things I have ever seen in college football.



Unfortunately for Barbara Dooley’s baby boy, the Bulldogs should be getting all of their starters back at this point in the season and Bulldog Nation will be gearing up for a clash with South Carolina the following week. Tyler Bray and company will provide a stern test but the Dawgs will not get caught looking ahead. Georgia wins. Continue reading

Georgia Bulldogs 2012 Schedule Preview – Part One

Over the next several weeks, I will be previewing the 2012 Georgia football schedule as college football is on the fast track to kicking off the regular season. This three part series begins with the focus on  the Dawgs’ first four games of the 2012 campaign. The highlight of the opening month will likely be a showdown in the “Show Me State” for Georgia’s Southeastern Conference opener against Missouri on September 8.

Before the Bulldogs come face to face with the Tigers, they begin the year at home against Buffalo. On paper, this is certainly a tune up game but it will be good for the Dawgs to get some of their parts in place before hitting the road in week two. Georgia would be well served to treat the season opener against the Bulls as a dress rehearsal. Bulldog Nation can get an early glimpse of who will step up up at the running back position, and the coaches can decide which side of the ball Malcolm Mitchell can contribute the most. Somewhere in the not too distant past, a Michigan fan had a similar train of thought going into the Appalachian State game in 2007. Remember how well that turned out?



Catastrophic possibilities aside, I will assume that Georgia wins the first game, and begins the year 1-0. Missouri will be chomping at the bit to take a bite out of Bulldog Nation, as suspension and depth issues have left the Bulldogs ripe for the picking early in the year. By the time the final whistle blows, this game will come down to three key factors. First, quarterback Aaron Murray must exercise his turnover demons from a year ago and play a polished game in a hostile environment. Georgia may have to outscore Missouri, and that task will ultimately fall on the shoulders of the signal caller. Second, Georgia must make a few key stops on defense to keep the Tigers at bay. The more out of control the game gets on the scoreboard, the more confident Missouri becomes. Continue reading

Georgia names Todd Grantham ‘Associate Head Coach’- Bulldog Nation Must Stick Together

Coaching will be the key to Georgia getting off to a fast start.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that the Georgia Bulldogs officially announced defensive coordinator Todd Grantham as the ‘associate head coach’ over the weekend. While some conspiracy theorists may think this is the first step in Grantham’s mission to become head coach, it is the perfect solution to ensure that Mark Richt and Todd Grantham lead this litter of Georgia Bulldogs together for the foreseeable future. The head man got his new deal months ago, and his defensive coordinator colleague has earned this new job title since coming to Athens. Most importantly, Todd Grantham’s latest job description gives him extra incentive not to pick up the phone if other teams come calling.

As for coach Richt, it is unfortunate that some of the blame for another tumultuous off-season has landed at his feet. Georgia has the strictest drug policy of any team in the Southeastern Conference, and there is only so much that the Bulldog head football coach can do short of micro-managing a team of 18-22 year old kids. On the other hand, the head coach of any football program must handle the criticism when problems arise. Winning cures all.

Isaiah Crowell’s Georgia career ended with a thud a few weeks ago. It is always disappointing to watch a promising young talent lose his way. However, it would be wrong of anyone in Bulldog Nation to harbor any ill-will towards Mr. Crowell. The young man made a mistake, and he is paying a heavy price. He is (and should be) getting a chance to play his sophomore season on a much smaller college football stage. Good luck to Isaiah Crowell, he has the ability to make a living playing football if he starts making better decisions off the field.

Errors in judgment away from the gridiron have become one of the unwanted themes for some members of the Georgia football team this off-season. Cornelius Washington’s recent Facebook rant did not do him any favors, but Georgia fans should forgive and forget. In all likelihood Georgia will head into the 2012 season ranked in the top ten with a soft schedule, and everyone involved with Bulldog Nation needs to take this tremendous opportunity to become one of the elite teams in the best conference in college football.

How Long Until The Georgia Bulldogs Win The National Championship?

Bulldog Nation is eager to join in on all the SEC/national championship fun.

With another hot summer bearing down between the hedges, Bulldog Nation has a renewed sense of optimism as the 2012 college football season approaches. A lot of the excitement in Athens stems from the fact that Georgia is expected to be among the top ten teams in the country when preseason rankings officially come out. Looking at the here and now, one of the top priorities for the Bulldogs the next three months must be to stay out of trouble. The issues that have plagued the Georgia secondary in particular this off-season have been well documented. Regardless, the Dawgs will have no excuses once the regular season gets underway.

Georgia’s window to compete for a national championship is wide open. However, as is the case with every college football program there is no way to gauge how long the window will stay ajar. Todd Grantham has been instrumental in putting the “D” back in the Bulldog defense over the past two years, and he recently signed an extension to stay in Athens until at least 2014. Jarvis Jones is Georgia’s defensive leader on the field while Mark Richt and company stay busy on the recruiting trail.

As for the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs return six starters on an offense that averaged 32 points per game in 2011. Aaron Murray is a junior, and back-up quarterbacks Hutson Mason and Christian Lemay are quickly developing. Georgia continues to acquire an impressive stable of highly touted running backs to carry the football with each recruiting class, along with a number of promising receivers as well  If Georgia can plug some holes on the offensive line, and find a way to win against highly ranked opponents, the Bulldogs have the potential to become a full fledged college football powerhouse. Continue reading

Do Florida Fans Have a Right To Feel Betrayed By Urban Meyer?

urban_meyer

Is Ohio State Urban Meyer's final coaching stop?

When the Florida Gators chomped the Ohio State Buckeyes by a final score of 41-14 in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game, it was hard to fathom Urban Meyer coaching college football anywhere other than Gainesville, Florida. After all, the former Gator head coach had just won his second national championship in a three year span.

Fast forward to 2012. Urban Meyer has had two “retirements” due to a weak heart muscle, and now finds himself about three and a half months away from his first game as the head football coach at The Ohio State University. As for Meyer’s old team, the Gators are about to begin their second season under Will Muschamp. Muschamp is a Georgia Bulldog alum, and he was deemed the head coach in waiting at the University of Texas where he served as defensive coordinator before the Gators came calling. Florida finished 7-6 in Muschamp’s first season. Conditions in the swamp are expected to improve, but even the most staunch Gator supporters must have   trouble believing that Muschamp will surpass the success of his predecessor. Continue reading

The Loss of Junior Seau Has Changed My Perception Of Football.

I used to think that the idea of eliminating the kick-off from professional football was blasphemy. Their was always something about strong athletes running full speed towards each other that captivated me as a football fan. That is, until the tragic death of Junior Seau.

Junior Seau’s death has been ruled a suicide, and we may never really know how much of a factor Seau’s hard-nosed 20 year career as a linebacker in the National Football League factored into his decision to take his own life. But there is no doubt that concussions and head injuries played a definite role in Seau’s suicide. That statement is not meant to demonize football. I love the game of football, it is a fast-paced, athletic spectacle that has never been more popular around the world.

Despite the popularity of the NFL, Junior Seau’s death has thrown gasoline on the growing fire that is player safety. Football is a violent sport, and the NFL is filled with phenomenal athletes, and physical specimens who are trained to launch themselves like missiles to make a play on every down. So the question remains, How does the game of football balance player safety on both sides of the ball without hurting the quality of the product on the field? Continue reading

Georgia Bulldogs Quarterback “Controversy” – A Change Doesn’t Always Do You Good

While browsing the Atlanta Journal Constitution last week, I was stunned to learn that some Georgia fans feel the starting quarterback position in Athens should be more open ended going into the summer. In Bill King’s latest “Junkyard Blog,” King addresses the concern that some of Bulldog Nation has with Murray turning the football over too much last season.

I will concede that Aaron Murray certainly has things to work on this off-season. However, the same can be said for every other quarterback at any level of football. To think that the University of Georgia football team would somehow be better off with Murray on the bench is absurd. The combined number of starts between back-up quarterbacks Hutson Mason and Christian LeMay at the University of Georgia is zero. Both young men have a lot of potential, but that alone is not enough to supplant a two year starter. The Bulldogs will be replacing a healthy portion of their offensive line this fall, and Murray’s starting experience will be a valuable asset in helping the young Georgia offense grow.

Regardless of experience, the statistics that Aaron Murray put up in his first two seasons leave little doubt about who should be the starting signal caller for the Bulldogs. Murray has thrown for 6,198 yards and 69 touchdowns in his career between the hedges. The frustration with Aaron Murray comes from the number of turnovers he committed last season. The rising junior threw 14 interceptions, and fumbled the ball away at crucial moments a year ago. There is no substitute for maturity and the Dawgs are confident that Aaron Murray will cut down significantly on the number of balls he throws to the other team in his third year.

It is obvious that everyone in and around the Georgia Bulldog football program is hungry for a national championship. Championships come with patience and hard work, not by making hasty decisions and keeping your quarterback on a short leash. Change for change’s sake is never a smart move. All of Bulldog Nation needs to be united in support of Aaron Murray. After all, USC quarterback Matt Barkley is the only returning starter in the country to put up better numbers than Murray in 2011. As long as he takes care of the football Aaron Murray is poised to re-write a lot of Georgia passing records starting this fall.