This is how you get to arguing that Trent Dilfer was a better quarterback than Dan Marino.

Listy, list, list

3. Aaron Murray, Georgia

… Aaron Murray has thrown for 10,901 yards and 95 touchdowns in his career. How in the world is he No. 3 on the list? Despite his 4-10 record against top 25 teams in three seasons, Murray hasn’t been able to win the big game yet, but that’s not all his fault. Georgia tends to avoid showing up against ranked opponents on the biggest stage, and that includes Murray. Over the longevity of his career, Murray has produced numbers, but he has very little accolades and hardware to show for it…

2. AJ McCarron, Alabama

AJ McCarron has won back-to-back national championships. And if he had as many attempts as Aaron Murray over the last two seasons (789 compared to 642), his numbers would be much more prolific. McCarron has registered 5,950 yards passing and 49 touchdowns, compared to just eight INTs, in just two years as a full-time starter.

I know somebody’s gotta be three and somebody’s gotta be two, but can I ask the obvious question here:  if Murray and McCarron had swapped teams the past two seasons, does anybody really think there’d be two more crystal footballs gracing Butts-Mehre today?  Unless you’re willing to say yes to that, how is a natty relevant to a discussion of which quarterback is better?

I think about this particularly in the context of the SECCG.  ‘Bama won the game by taking the ball out of McCarron’s hands (except for that play action TD pass that you knew was coming).  Georgia almost won the game by putting the ball in Murray’s hands.  Does that Georgia’s defense couldn’t stop the Alabama running game make McCarron a better quarterback than Murray?  I guess for some people, maybe it does.


Filed under SEC Football

105 responses to “This is how you get to arguing that Trent Dilfer was a better quarterback than Dan Marino.

  1. Debby Balcer

    The author can’t used through instead of threw the football and is a professional journalist? I would say is ratings are as flawed as his writing.

  2. Grandy Peace

    So statistics don’t matter as a barometer for success except when they do. Breathtaking logic, that.

    • Yep. After breaking out my calculator, I have to agree with the “writer.”

      Playing behind the best OL in the land, with little pressure and scads of time, Mac averaged 9.26 yds. per attempt, and a touchdown every 0.76 percent of attempts.

      That Dawg from Florida, with a patchwork group of underclassmen protecting him, managed only 13.82 yds. per attempt, and touchdowns on 1.20 percent of his throws.

  3. Uglydawg

    Some shallow reasoning there. Give AM Alabama’s offensive line, and Alabama’s running game and how good would he be? Now give AJ Georgia’s O line (for the last three seasons) and how good would he do? Hypotheticals, but good grief! By the way, have you noticed that AJ has a beautiful girlfriend?

  4. Not to mention that McCarron has two championships to Manziel’s zero… i.e., by his own logic why not have McCarron at #1?

  5. charlottedawg

    Not to take anything away from McCarron, he’s got a great passer rating, but nobody seems to notice he had a pretty mediocre SECCG. I know, I know, that’s the perk of winning the game, but I remember who looked better the one time these two went head to head.

  6. Bulldog Joe

    Last year, the priority was to get Murray a running game. Accomplished.

    This year, the priority is to get Murray a defense. With the lack of reps our defense has going into this season, we can not afford to play the suspension game. We need another form of discipline or our season will lost before our “normal” four-week suspension period is over.

  7. AthensHomerDawg

    Murray had a good year and so did Gurley. JF was equal to both of them with 3,706 yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also had 201 carries for 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns. WOW> Now for all those critics that harsh on our 3 star recruits…. Scout/Rivals had JF at 3*
    just sayin’

  8. Cojones

    Screw them and the pundit. Aaron is our workhorse big man; our Heisman w/o the statue; our tougher than leather player; our athlete to pass praise and watch him use the pass ammunition; our Bulldog. If you can’t see the match he’s made between UGA’s Team and QB and Bama’s NC Team and QB, you ain’t lookin’.

  9. charlottedawg

    can I also add that Hutson Mason would be #1 if Murray weren’t Bobo’s boy?

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Pleeezzzzzzeeeeeeeee! And Met should have been the starter after that spring camp? Bauta is gonna make you forget all about Mason. K?

    • X-Dawg

      Somewhere, lost in the shuffle wayyyy down below is my response to this ( +1😉 ) Great piece of sarcasm, imo!

    • What has Mason ever shown that Joe Cox didn’t? Hell, he’s shown less than Joe Cox did at this stage imo. Let’s compare, less mobile, weaker arm, but yeah, that’s a better QB. If Mason starts, we’ve got issues. Ramsey should surpass him by next year.

      • Macallanlover

        You may be right, I don’t know, but what is the rationale behind the semi-attack on Mason? He could be underrated, or overrated, for all we know but without being given a chance you say “Ramsey should surpass him by next year”? Even if you prove prophetic (I hope you are right about that because it means Ramsey will be pretty special, and I don’t like having a QB starter for just one year) whyc cast doubt on a guy who is staying on in hopes of making a contribution.

        Not attacking you because I don’t think you are mean-spirited, but it comes across as a criticsm of a Dawg who we may need to bail us out this season, and next. If Bobo has confidence in Mason, it may allow him to turn Murray loose to run more this year. If he agrees with you, we may see the same run to escape only.

        • I guess you’re right, and that can be taken as an attack on Mason. It’s just the idiocy of Mason > Murray is beyond ignorant. The kid hasn’t shown anything at all that would lead one to think he has more ability than Murray. And yeah, I think Ramsey will be very special, which is why I think Mason made a bad call in sticking around vs. trying to start elsewhere. I’m grateful he made that decision as a Dawg fan, but I’ve just not seen anything out of the young man that makes me think he’s better than Joe Cox was, if that good. And how fans can still clamor for him over Murray is beyond my understanding.

          • Cojones

            What? You didn’t see Mason throw a TD in his first college play?

            That’s all that was needed for some duplicitous individuals to use as an excuse to attack Aaron, Bobo and Richt thereafter. Those people know less than I do about football (that ought to put them low).

          • Macallanlover

            I agree, the call for Mason over Murray has always been way beyond stupid but we have the element among us. I honestly don’t know how good he really is but I know I don’t like having another “one and done” (although DJ is one of my very favorite Dawgs of all time…thrilled he made his one year count.) I hope Ramsey is as good as advertised, my concerns are the level of competition he played against and the offense he ran. I do trust CMR and CMB as talent evaluaters at the QB position, fingers crossed.

  10. Castleberry

    I’m still bothered by the “can’t win the big game” talk. So, we only had two big games last year?

    • Merk

      Gosh man….Don’t ya know. It is only a big game if u lose.

    • Dante

      By it’s very definition, “the” big game would denote one.

    • I do agree with this. I think it’s gotten to the point now where if Murray wins it, it must not have been a big game. Like Florida. That was a big game, right? No way. They lost to Louisville a couple months later. Couldn’t have been big.

      • Uglydawg

        That’s the way it is. I believe it, too. But if UGA were 0 and 10 going into the nerd game…and the nerds won (please, indulge me here), it would be a BIG, BIG, BIG win for them.

    • The984

      Buildong on what the Senator recently pointed out, the Big Game probably shouldn’t necessarily mean only Top 25 teams. We won Kentucky last year solely due to the efforts of AM, TK, and MM. AM threw for four or five TDs and set a career passing yardage best. When everyone else stunk it up, AM won us the game. Sure, it was a dreadful opponent, but AM won the game for us. He showed up big in that game when we absolutely needed him to.

      What started the “Can’t win the big one” meme was AM’s bipolar performances against UF and the dreadful 2010 season (when AM was still pretty damn good). It’s almost like they’re trying to fault AM for not winning games all by his lonesome.

    • Bobby

      I’m just guessing, but I think the “can’t win the big game” talk stems from the past couple of seasons in which we: (1) got blown out by SoCar; (2) grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory against Mich St; (3) lost our ass in the second half against LSU; (5) lost because of an offensive implosion against SoCar; and (6) had a completely impotent offense (saving MM’s td reception) against Boise.

      Contrast that w/ AM’s wins in “big” games: (1) UF in 2011; (2) UF in 2012; and (3) Nebraska in 2012.

      As for Bama in 2012, that was a well-played game on the biggest stage; while not a “win,” it certainly was a moral victory, and the loss is not attributable to AM.

      So, the “can’t win the big game” talk stems from legitimate, residual frustration from AM’s performance in 2010, 2011, and the So Car game in 2012. By any reasonable standard, he certainly appears to have elevated his game as a “winner” and as a QB. If there is one thing that you can’t deny about AM, it is that he has improved steadily w/ each season.

      In 2011, he improved dramatically on 3rd and long. In 2012, he improved passer efficiency, and elevated his play in SOME big games. There is a lot of reason to think that AM will become the COMPLETE QB that we have always hoped he would become. But he’s not there yet.

      AJ deserves to be ranked at #2.

      • Hackerdog

        Murray’s not a “complete” QB yet? I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

        If there’s one thing I absolutely hate, it’s the mental laziness that this kind of thinking promotes. I don’t want to think about which QB can make better throws, or has a better team surrounding him, so I’ll just use wins, or championships to decide for me. There, my brain isn’t too stressed, so I can go back to watching cartoons now.

        • Bobby

          You’re right. I am just being mentally lazy. AM had a phenomenal game against
          So Car this past season. 2011 was even better. He is “complete” because there is not a single aspect of his game left to improve. He never makes bad decisions. He never fumbles from not protecting the ball well enough. In fact, I am POSITIVE that even AM would agree that he has nothing left to improve on as a college QB. You have convinced me; I was just being lazy in my analysis, and I clearly was doing only a superficial comparison of W-L records.

          • Dawgwalker07

            By your sarcastic reasoning, there are no complete quarterbacks as everyone can keep improving. I don’t think that’s as good of an argument as you think it is.

            • Bobby

              I don’t think you’re attempt at reductio ad absurdum is as good of a counter-argument as you think it is. I wasn’t talking about every, single, theoretical area of improvement. I’m not talking about perfection. Clearly, I’m not holding him to the “GOD” standard.

              Obviously, I think there are some “complete” QBs playing the game of football today. I even said that I think AM will become a complete QB next season; that doesn’t mean that I think his game will be literally flawless and beyond any criticism. So when you say “there are no complete quarterbacks as everyone can keep improving,” that obviously distorts what I meant when I used the word “complete.” You’re either being disingenuous, or lacking common sense.

              My point is simple. There are substantial parts of AM’s game that still need improvement. He has not shown yet that he is good enough to always overcome the mistakes he makes. Complete QBs are good enough to overcome their mistakes. During a college football season–when every game is critical–complete QBs show up in major games on the road.

              That doesn’t mean that “complete” QBs always win, and that doesn’t mean that “complete” QBs always make the big throw/run to win the game; it just means that they always put their team in the best possible position to win a game, and that they NEVER put their team in a position to lose.

              My point really shouldn’t be this controversial. I didn’t shit on AM. I didn’t say he sucks. I didn’t disrespect him. I simply stated that there are still significant aspects of his game that need improvement. He’s getting there, but he’s not there yet. If he puts together a complete season, we’ll be having a different conversation.

              • Hackerdog

                You’ve been hoisted by your own petard.

                You argued that AM was incomplete by saying that he has one, or more, areas of his game that could be improved. Then you object to DW7 using your own standard of completeness? Seriously?

                So now you put forward the standard that complete QBs can always overcome their mistakes? That is an equally poor standard. Tom Brady had a 62 passer rating in the Patiots’ playoff loss to the Ravens. Is Brady, a future Hall of Fame QB, an incomplete QB? He threw 2 picks and his team couldn’t overcome his mistakes. I’m sure you’ll say that I’m just being disingenuous by applying your own standard to your own argument. Sorry.

                I think that you equate completeness with perfection. And I will agree that AM isn’t perfect. But I will disagree that any other QB is. I think AM is pretty darned good. He may be the best QB that UGA has ever had. And I do agree that, if he has a perfect season this year, then some of the mentally lazy fans will be happy with his performance. But that doesn’t mean those fans aren’t still mentally lazy.

                • I don’t think he’s saying completeness equals perfection, but it does create a rather vague standard akin to “I’ll know it when I see it” rather than anything that can be stated in concrete terms.

                • Bobby

                  You said: “You argued that AM was incomplete by saying that he has one, or more, areas of his game that could be improved. Then you object to DW7 using your own standard of completeness? Seriously?”

                  I objected to DW7’s response b/c he didn’t didn’t use my own standard. He equated it to a notion of “flawlessness” or “perfection,” much like you insist on doing (for example, “I think that you equate completeness with perfection.”). I suppose I can understand why there is some confusion. Perhaps I didn’t write w/ perfect verbal clarity, but then again, I wasn’t trying to set forth an airtight theory for analyzing the quality of a QB compared to others. I don’t think anybody can do that, though. Part of my analysis does incorporate somewhat of an “eye test,” as tidefanintn suggests below. Some of it looks at passing statistics. Some of it looks at W-L record. Most of it, though, is based on observations made about how a QB performs in certain game situations. The biggest thing is that “complete” QBs put their teams in position to win the game.

                  The Brady counter-analogy is a tired one; it’s like a Hitler argument. It is ridiculous to compare an NFL QB to a college QB. I really shouldn’t have to explain why that is apples-and-oranges. It’s a different game w/ different stakes and different implications.

                  AM might end up being the best QB UGA has ever seen, but that remains to be seen. Feel free to call me mentally lazy for that. I really don’t care anymore. I’m not going to continue to get trolled.

                  • Hackerdog

                    Ah, vague standards that can’t be applied to two different quarterbacks. Undoubtedly the sign of a rigorous mind at work.😉

                    Anyway, troll on. Maybe UGA can go undefeated, win the national championship, and satisfy mentally lazy fans who insist that we have an incomplete quarterback, even though they can’t define what that is. We can only hope.

          • Hackerdog

            Good point. AM was obviously the reason UGA lost the South Carolina game. Our protection was perfect. Our running game was outstanding. And our defense shut them down. If Murray had just been able to convert some of those 3rd and short situations, we would have run away with the game.

            And you make another good point about improvement. Why be happy with the 2nd highest passer rating in the country? The passer rating statistics obviously show one complete QB and 119 incomplete QBs.

            No mental laziness for you.

            • Bobby

              In SoCar, AM had a 35% completion percentage, 0 TDs, and 1 INT. That sucks. I’m not saying he is the sole reason we lost. But he blew in that game. He played like a head case. Complete QBs don’t do that. Again, I’ll reiterate: I think he’s well on his way; he has always improved w/ each season. Feel free to continue to ignore this point.

              I am not obsessed w/ statistics. I think they’re overrated. Ryan Mallet had amazing passing stats; would I want him as my starting QB? Hell, no. Because Ryan Mallet was a choke artist. Basing your opinion on passer rating statistics on is a lazy way to assess a player’s strengths. There are too many other factors that are immeasurable. That’s why stat whores fall short in their analysis. It’s superficial and inherently flawed.

              • Hackerdog

                I agree that Murray had a bad game against South Carolina. You seem to think that he did so in a vacuum. That is mentally lazy. Quarterback play is influenced by protection, running game, defense, and special teams. And the quarterback has almost no influence on those things. Murray couldn’t have tackled Saunders on the punt return he ran back for a touchdown. Murray didn’t play defense, so he couldn’t stop South Carolina from scoring on its first few possessions with little resistance.

                Of course, sometimes, great players just have bad games. Tom Brady had a bad game against the Ravens in the playoffs. Of course, you object to using your own standards in a debate against you. I can see why.

                I agree that statistics can be overrated. I think the only thing that is more overrated than statistics is using the win-loss record to judge quarterbacks. Using the record is superficial and inherently flawed.

              • That you can write the first two sentences and the last two sentences in that comment without a trace of self-awareness is damned impressive. Seriously.

                • Bobby

                  I was aware of that when I wrote it, but I seriously didn’t think it was necessary to explain the distinction there. Apparently, it is. When stats are as dreadful as AM’s in the SoCar game, they are quite revealing. At that point, you’re not using statistics to make fine distinctions.

                  Stats are blunt incidators. Beyond a certain point, they’re not useful for making fine distinctions. When passing statistics are relatively close, they cease to be useful for analysis because there are too many variables at play. They can be misleading b/c different QBs play in different systems. For example, QBs playing in more of a pro-style system are required to make more low-percentage throws; if they’re playing in more of a spread-influenced system, they are required make a lot of high-percentage throws. Statistics don’t account for those differences. Similarly, stats don’t really account for the effect a dual-threat (or mobile) QB can have on a defense; it’s not just a matter of adding up a QB’s rushing yds to his passing yrds. It affects a game in all sorts of ways that are not reflected in statistics. That’s why I think big-game performance is one of the more meaningful factors when analyzing a QB. Unfortunately, that isn’t really quantifiable.

                  Why am I getting such an extreme reaction on this board? I took a moderate position on something–something that really amounts to a modest disagreement w/ others on this board. You people act like it’s heresy to say that AM is not a complete QB yet. It’s really weird, actually.

                  • In other words, the stats you choose to make your case with are inherently superior to the stats others choose to make theirs.

                    And you wonder why you’re getting an extreme reaction…

                    • Bobby

                      As analysis of something becomes more complex and challenging (i.e., when more variables are introduced into the equation) I think statistics are limited in their usefulness. A statistically AWFUL game is probably indicative that the player had an awful game (of course, feel free to disagree). But when you’re trying to assess whether a QB is “complete,” I don’t think you can simply rely on passer efficiency ratings. That’s certainly an important statistic, but I don’t think it is dispositive (of course, feel free to disagree). IMO, to assess a QB’s strengths fully, you also must look at factors that are immeasurable. Why else would talent scouts look at film exhaustively? A player’s performance on film does NOT always translate into a stat column.

                      Senator, I don’t think any point I’ve made is inherently superior to anybody else’s. I personally think I’m correct in saying that you can’t reduce it to a numbers-game. Feel free to disagree; hell, there is now an entire ESPN show devoted to that very concept (that you can reduce everything to numbers). I don’t buy into that, though.

                      You people act like I’m arrogant (that I think my analysis is INHERENTLY superior) just because I disagree w/ you. But I’m not the one acting like others are ridiculous for disagreeing w/ me on a very debatable point.

                    • “Complete” is a subjective term. The problem isn’t that you’re being arrogant. It’s that you think the stats you find significant make your case and everyone you’re arguing with feels the same way about their approach.

                      I’m not even saying I disagree with you about AM, as witness my post today. I just find some of your analysis unconvincing, or maybe more accurately, less convincing than you do.

              • Who would you want as your starting qb, if not Murray? Who is the complete qb?

                • Bobby

                  I would probably take AJ if we also got Bama’s system. But I think Tajh Boyd or Manziel could run the current Bobo system better than AM; w/ either of those QBs, we could also build more on Bobo’s system.

                  Even though he had a bad season, I think Matt Barkley could be better in Bobo’s system. I think the biggest reason for Barkley’s decline is that Laner forced him to focus on Marquis Lee too much. If Barkley had been in a system like Bobo’s (which encouraged heavy distribution of the football), I think he would have excelled.

                  I’m sure there are more, but I’m not going to pretend that I watch enough film to make that judgment. Of those mentioned, I think AJ is a complete QB now. While it’s somewhat of a projection, I think Manziel is probably a complete QB. Saying he “probably is” is not an insult; he’s young, and he caught college football by surprise. I’d be interested to see how defenses respond after having the benefit of a year of film on him.

                  As a whole, I think the QB position is pretty weak in NCAA right now, especially compared to 2 seasons ago. So, there aren’t many complete QBs. To provide some context, there would be quite a few “complete” RBs and WRs.

                  • Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade AJ for anyone. If I was a Georgia fan, I would say the same about Murray. Let’s give Manziel a second and third tour through the conference before we give him the Fran Tarkenton award.

      • Dog in Fla

        If Murray is not a complete QB, neither Nick nor Bo ***king Pelini want to face him when he completes himself. They had enough trouble with him in his present composition.

        • Bobby

          If he becomes a complete QB, SoCar will not want to face him either. I am not saying that AM doesn’t play brilliantly in some games. All I am saying is that I don’t think he has reached his potential as a college QB; hence, he is not a complete QB.

          • Dog in Fla

            Does this mean that Jadaveon is the only complete player in tSEC?

          • 81Dog

            those are two different things, arent they? You could be a “complete quarterback” while still having “room to improve to reach your potential.” I dont think your argument, or your explanation of it, is as good as you think it is.

            Murray certainly has areas in which he could improve. So did Dan Marino. So does Peyton Manning. Does that mean neither of them qualify as complete quarterbacks?

            • Bobby

              My use of the word “hence” was sloppy there. I explain my position in greater detail and w/ somewhat greater precision above. You’ll probably still disagree w/ me, though.

  11. Merk

    How many teams do well when the QB misses the 3 best receivers from the team for half the season?

    MM was on D for half the season
    MBr went down for the second half with a knee injury
    MBe went down for the second half with a knee injury too

    Also add in having true Fr on the line and at Rb.

    Yeap Murray is such garbage. Any QB could have thrown for 4k yards last year with UGA’s offense, so clearly Murray sucks…sigh, such ignorance.

    It would only be sweeter for the D to such balls this year, only to have the O just route every team. Then maybe Murray will get some love for actually being a good QB. I mean hell, it seemed like Driskell got as much love last year as Murray did.

    • It doesn’t say Murray sucks. It says something else entirely. It’s fair to make an argument for McCarron over Murray, as is the inverse. Yes, Bama had the better line. Bama had the better running game (at least partly because of the line). Bama had similar injury issues (lost our top two receivers for the season early — don’t forget that Cooper moved up to number one from number 5 but lost three receivers in front of him and out-performed the other) at receiver. But don’t forget that Murray’s numbers weren’t significantly better, and weren’t better in a lot of respects. He had more yards, but a lower completion percentage than McCarron. He had more TDs but a lower TD per attempt ratio. He had more than twice as many INTs and a corresponding TD to attempt ratio. And obviously his TD to INT ratio (roughly 5:1) was worse than McCarron’s (10:1).

      Bottom line, you can’t factor out the help either one of them got from their teams, and perhaps that’s not fair. But it’s also not fair to dismiss AJ making the throw that won the game while trying to give credit to Murray for almost making it. Or to dismiss championships when he was the MVP of one of them. A case can certainly be made for Murray as better than McCarron. Preferring the evidence on McCarron’s side is not an indication of ignorance.

      • Just to be clear, I’m not saying either QB sucks. I’m just questioning the big game metric.

        • Of course, and I wasn’t clear there, either, in that I combined a few things you stated with Merk’s argument.

          • Macallanlover

            Your comments are very fair and balanced, a case can certainly be made for either QB. Football is such a team game where individual players’ perception is affected, positively and negatively, by their surrounding cast that an absolute opinion in cases this close is impossible. Trying to objective with my opinion, I feel Murray is slightly better due to his mobility and a few throws he makes that are better. If both had gone down during the season, I think Murray’s loss would have been the most impactful. Bama’s OL and running game give him a big edge and I am discounting McCarron some for that, right or wrong. Both may carry a clipboard at the next level, but Aaron looks to have the best shot at seeing the field to me. That doesn’t matter much to me but it will ultimately be how they are eventually judged relative to the other.

            Golf is the purest individual sport I know of where you can compare performances on similar venues, with similar conditions and have no outside interference from what other players do, or bad calls by referees. Tennis and track are others but golf is the purest “do or die, no excuses” sport I can think of.

            • Hackerdog

              I would say that tennis and track are better. Because golf takes so long, the weather often plays a factor. Teeing off at 8am is much different than teeing off at 2pm.

              • Macallanlover

                Except that only in the first two rounds do those close to one another in the competition play at different times. On the weekends, those in the hunt are out at virtually the same time, only the Bristish Open might have enough significant change in a short period to allow someone already in to gain enough ground. In tennis, the calls are sometimes sketchy but generally it is also a mano y mano matchup. Track is pretty clean although many get measured by World Records which occur in a varity of wind and humid conditions. All are certainly far better than football for measuring individual achievement. I always look at individual football records as being loose.

    • Uglydawg

      I still remember Andre Ware gushing over Driskell against KY. It still makes me scream…according to Andre, Driskell was performing at a higher level than AM or AJM. Sometimes we forget that these people are mostly idiots who can’t get a real job. Just being on the tube doesnt’ make you knowledgeable, wise or even endearing…..especially endearing(see “Corso”, “Herbstreet”, “Granny Holtz” and others.) I do think Mark May was much improved in 2012.
      Todd Blackledge is the only famous college football commentator I really enjoy listening to.

  12. Yeah, I strongly agree with you, Senator. Anyone who thinks A.J. McCarron is the key to ‘Bama’s success is nuts. He’s maybe a little more dangerous with his arm than your typical ‘Bama QB (McElroy, Parker-Wilson, Jay Barker, etc.), but ‘Bama’s offense was their NFL-quality offensive line and those two runningbacks. Murray is undoubtedly the second-best QB in the league in my mind.

    • Bobby

      John Parker Wilson and Greg McElroy arguably did have better teams surrounding them; yet AJ has had more success than both; he has clearly risen beyond being a mistake-free game-manager; the dude is an awesome QB, much better than Wilson or McElroy. Don’t generalize.

  13. Hogbody Spradlin

    So, was Todd Blackledge better than John Elway in 82?

  14. By Georgia We Did It

    If Murray had more chest ink he’d be at #2

  15. Juan

    The TD:INT ratio says it all

  16. AthensHomerDawg

    I still gotta ask why our qb doesn’t have a supermodel girlfriend like A.J. or J.F. ?

  17. OKDawg

    Sounds like an article written by a Florida Gator alumna – oh, it was, you say. Interesting.

  18. Ed Kilgore

    It’s worth remembering that the unavoidable team nature of football–and the relatively small data set provided by short seasons–makes it less susceptible to statistical analysis than baseball with its vast number of one-one-one confrontations over the course of 162 (or more) games.

    This does NOT mean football stats are meaningless: just inherently less precise in a way that makes arguments like these eternal and the particular use of particular stats debatable. But they do keep getting better.

  19. Uglydawg

    Bottom line…if you could chose AM or AJMac to QB your team in 2013 (pretending they both had been there long enough to know the offense), which one would you take? I’ll take AM. But I would feel blessed with either.

  20. Snake Plisskin

    Both are pretty darn good QB’s, but play in two different systems…would Murray have put up 3K seasons his first two years at Bama? Would he have been given the chance under Saban? Would AJ have flourished behind the OL Murray had his first two years? Would he have played better than Murray with the suspect line and occasional running game?

    Bobo would have had to turn AJ loose, just like he did Murray, because that is the only way the DAWGS could move the ball the first two years…would Saban had put his QB in a position to carry the team with no running support and put the whole offense on the QB’s back?

    Somehow I think if these QB’s roles were reversed, there wouldn’t be much difference in performance…although I do know that Murray is mentally tough, and have no knowledge of AJ’s make-up…I do know that Murray just doesn’t give up…he can throw int after int and will still get back there and isn’t afraid, or may just believes in his abilities, to keep chucking the pig skin …there’s just no quit…how many games have we’ve seen where Murray just gets the crap beat out of him, and he keeps getting up….I do know that the OL play his first two years was abysmal and those guys should have been ashamed of their performances (or lack there of)…would AJ have bounced back like Murray time after time? I’d like to think so, but both teams know what they have at QB, and both are happy…Snake out


    These are the same arguments made to say Tony Romo sucks. Despite his top five all-time qb rating and having the highest 4th quarter rating in the league, he faces the same criticisms. It’s a team sport. Including the coaches.
    I thought about this during the season when the whole “big game” argument was thrown around.

  22. For you stat geeks, Bill Connolly has a great piece today indirectly comparing the two here. Like with most stats, I’m sure each of us will conclude what we want from them, but I thought it was an interesting read.

    • Cojones

      Thanks. Somehow I didn’t have AJ in the same stadium when it came to long passes completed and thought Aaron lead the country. That shows how we can delude ourselves about those we like when we don’t look at all the data presented in a more objective manner. it doesn’t cause me to reduce my judgement of Murray’s performance because, well, I subjectively like many aspects of his play besides the passes, but it does cause me to skew my comparisons of him to other QBs to the point of recognizing talent aspects of others as being superior depending on how you look at the data.

      Don’t worry, it wasn’t lost on me that the author shortcut and made a few decisions in data presentment that could withstand some scrutiny.

  23. 81Dog

    the idea suggested by the writer that you can extrapolate McCarron’s actual stats into “if he threw as many times as Murray, he’d have even better stats than Murray” is just stupid. It sounds like what the Auburn homers all say about Bo Jackson: Sure, he only had a fraction of Herschel’s carries, but his average per carry was better, so if you doubled or tripled his carries, he’d have been lots better.”

    McCarron is a great QB, but part of what makes him successful is that he functions within the Alabama offense. I would suggest that the SECC title game showed the opposite of what the writer suggested. Alabama won by taking the ball OUT of McCarron’s hands and ramming it down our defense’s throats, which set up the ideal situation for the play fake/winning score throw. Props to McCarron for making it, but I think to suggest that if you changed his role in the offense to what Murray has to do for UGA, he’d automatically be better at it, is just stupid. Change his role, change the way defenses prepare for him, change the opportunities for him to get cheap shotted by guys like Dial or Nick Fairley.

    I’m not sure there are many QBs around who could take all the hits Murray has taken the last few years and keep popping up and playing. Part of what keeps McCarron’s jersey clean is his limited role as a passer.

    • Does anyone know if there is a source for time to release on passes? Stats would indicate you guys are underselling the job your OL did last season, but I can only go by sacks and TFLs, which doesn’t account for hurries or how long the QB held the ball before pressure.

      • Cojones

        Interesting thought. I’d like to see that since it could round off the discussion.

      • Uglydawg

        OR..stats on how many times the qb was forced out of the pocket, or threw to his second or third choice..AJ had few of these problems with that line.

        • I think the legend of the line is a bit stronger than it’s actual performance. It was certainly a dominant line, but AJ didn’t go untouched and he was forced to leave the pocket often. Possibly not as much as Murray. I’d like to see that stat.

    • Bobby

      Re SECCG: Why would Bama pass the ball (which plays into our defense’s greatest strength: pass rushing) when they were effortlessly racking up 350 rushing yds against us? Bama’s offense didn’t take over b/c they took the game out of AJ’s hands; they took over b/c our defense couldn’t stop the run.

      • Hackerdog

        Alabama relied on the run all year. They were #16 in the country in rushing yards per game. They were #76 in passing yards per game.

        • Bobby

          Yes, they rely on the run. What’s your point? Why shouldn’t they? When you’re that effective running the ball, why wouldn’t you run the ball?

          They don’t run the ball to “take the game out of AJ’s hands.” It’s not like AJ is a liability when called up to pass the ball. If the running game is that effective, why not use it until somebody can stop it? Against UGA, why in the world would Bama have passed the ball when UGA couldn’t stop the run AT ALL. Balance for the sake of balance?

          Furthermore, a QB is still very much involved in the game, even when he isn’t being a gunslinger. He’s making reads, calling audibles, managing the offense’s pace, protecting the ball, controlling the huddle, selling the play-action fake, etc. Again, these are all assets that do not show up in the stat column.

  24. I think this is the sticking point:

    And if he had as many attempts as Aaron Murray over the last two seasons (789 compared to 642), his numbers would be much more prolific.

    If this is your starting point for the comparison, then you are missing the big picture at the start. Murray has nearly 150 more attempts in two years because Georgia needed those attempts to win the game. That means there was more pressure on Murray, and they likely came against defenses that had a pretty good idea a pass was coming. Alabama didn’t need McCarron to throw the ball 150 more times to win because they pounded teams into submission. When teams would commit 9 to stop the run, McCarron would hit a guy over the top. In the SECC game, Alabama did Georgia a favor 99% of the time they called a pass. The one big TD was because Georgia sold out to stop their punishing running game.

    To use a baseball analogy, McCarron is a changeup to Murray’s fastball. Teams know Georgia is going to rely on Murray’s arm, and they still can’t stop him. McCarron is used (very effectively) to trick a guy looking for something else (Bama’s sledgehammer running game). McCarron is very talented. But, if he were called to be the guy, would he be as successful as Murray? I don’t think so… but that’s just, like, my opinion, man.

    • But McCarron was called to be the guy against LSU in the championship game and he succeeded. Compare his stats in that game against an LSU pass defense that season that was slightly better than the Tide’s pass defense in 2012.
      McCarron – 34 att, 23 comp, 234 yards, 0 td, 0 int
      Murray – 33 att, 18 comp, 264 yards, 1 td, 1 int

      Those are fairly comparable numbers. And he did it with only slightly more run support than Murray had (150 yards to 113), largely because the Tide was just hammering against a defeated team at the end of the game.

      I do not think performances in just one game are even remotely good enough for determining who is better, but I do think his performance in that one game at least addresses his ability to be the guy when called to do so.

      • Uglydawg

        Tidefanin…can’t you acknowledge even one little superlative to the Dawgs? Crap, you’re sitting on back to back glass trophies and one that broke.
        Georgia fans are admitting Bama was better running the ball and o line play all around. We admit your defense was stellar….I guess if we said we have 100K watt lights at Sanford, you’ll insist BD has 1001 K watts.
        Murray is the better QB. He has been brilliant when everyone knew he had to throw the ball…give him that, why don’t you? If AJ had to throw that much because of a weak running attack..(it was the finest running attack in the land…see how easy that is?) his numbers would be much less impressive… If you watche UGA week end and out, you’d have seen the plays he made when the Dawgs had nothing else and even my Rat Terrier knew he was going to throw it…and he made the throws..and lets not forget how AM can really take the savage hit.

        • Bryant Denny doesn’t have stadium lights. We just position the crystal footballs around the stadium and shine a maglite through them.😉 Seriously, though, I think a lot of Aaron Murray. I don’t think he has to suck for AJ to be better. I don’t even necessarily think AJ is better. I certainly think there’s enough evidence to argue it, though. Which is what we’re doing. Murray is capable of being a great quarterback without it being at McCarron’s expense.

  25. That article isn’t great, but it did make an attempt to get into stats after the “two national titles opener.” McCarron has fewer attempts than Murray because Bama runs the ball more, but he has a lower yards per attempt even when you control for pace. On the other hand, he avoid picks better. Georgia won the Florida game in the past two seasons for the most part despite Murray because Murray threw picks and struggled to complete passes.

    Bill Connelly has a much better piece out this morning regarding the results of his charting project. McCarron comes off really well in terms of completing deep passes, although Connelly points out on Twitter that the running game has a lot to do with that.

    Last point: you can flip the Murray argument around by asking how guys like Tyler Russell or Bo Wallace would do with Todd Gurley in the backfield and Malcolm Mitchell leading the receiver corps. I’d argue that the gap between the offensive personnel at Georgia and Bama is smaller than the game between Georgia and the Mississippi schools. (Counter to the counter is that Murray was good enough in HS to get a Georgia offer [and in college to beat out competitors for the starting job] and therefore have the privilege of playing with that talent, whereas Russell and Wallace were not.)

    • 69Dawg

      It still all comes back to the Olines. Gurshall could run some against Bama but Bama’ backs killed it. Football is a Team sport individual stats are nearly worthless.

      • Macallanlover

        This. All indivual awards in football are subjective, even the kicker’s stats, which might come the closest to being about an individual’s superiority..