I could care less about the Heisman implications, but Year2 notes a trend that could impact Aaron Murray and Georgia this season.
Since 2000, 31 quarterbacks have had a season passing efficiency above 160 and returned to school the following year. Seven of them, a new high in the span, hit 160 last year. Three of them missed too many games due to injury the following season to count. Of the 21 remaining players, three managed to improve their PE scores, three had roughly the same PE as the prior year, and 15 saw their PEs decline.
Of the three who improved their marks, two were freshmen and one was a sophomore. Of the three who stayed the same, one was a freshman and two were sophomores. That then means, of course, that every junior who went above 160 and came back to school had his PE decline. The average decline was right about 19 with a median of about 16. [Emphasis added.]
McCarron and Murray, of course, were juniors last season. That means that their passing efficiency marks are likely to drop this coming fall based on this history…
Now YMMV, correlation ain’t causation, yada, yada, yada. The circumstances of those 15 aren’t described and it’s possible there are explanations for some of those declines (Tebow, one of those 15, for example, played a senior season without Harvin and Mullen). But 15-for-15 is pretty compelling evidence that top-flight junior quarterbacks don’t improve their game much in their last year in college.
You’d think Murray’s got some pretty compelling circumstances to buck that trend, as pretty much his entire supporting cast returns as do all of Georgia’s offensive coaches. But the schedule is tougher – most significantly, it’s likely that LSU will play better pass defense than Ole Miss did.