Staying on top

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.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

17 responses to “Staying on top

  1. Will

    I’m convinced that if anyone wins the Heisman on our team it’ll be Gurley. Murray is too disliked by the national media, and the meme that he “can’t win the big one” will keep floating around if we lose a single game in the first month, which is all voters will hear. Gurley is the player with the best shot at the Heisman on our team.


  2. The Lone Stranger

    I ‘m with you on the relative chances between Murray/Gurley. The bump AM can exploit is if the opener becomes a shoot out as many have foreseen and Murray outguns Boyd. In that scenario Dawgs will be straight into the Top 5 and AM SHOULD be a juicy focus for each subsequent game.


  3. sniffer

    I’m not convinced that Murray has to improve in’14 for UGa to have conference and national title chances. Actually, I’m starting to think Bobo runs an unbalanced offense geared toward running as much as possible. Quick strike here and there but pound Gurley and Marshall a lot.


  4. Mac

    I hate to be “That Guy”, but it’s “I couldn’t care less”. If you “could” care less then that means you do care some. Sorry, just one of my pet peeves.


  5. Bobby

    Even the most negative critic of AM cannot deny that he has substantially improved key areas of his game each season. Whether that translates into a higher PE rating, who knows? Senator raises a good point that the tougher schedule could result in a lower PE rating, but that will hardly indicate that he has regressed as a QB. Statistically, AM has gotten so impressive, that they’re becoming meaningless. The important thing to watch will be how he performs in critical, stressful game situations; that doesn’t translate into any commonly documented statistic.


    • uglydawg

      Number 2 (comment above) is my favorite, with the run down the right sideline against TN as a close second. Maybe off the subject a little, but with a running game like this keeping the defense honest….AM should have some great opportunities.


  6. Macallanlover

    I could care less about “The Hypesman” award, or other individual awards in this great team game. The last 2+ decades have killed my interest in The Hypesman, the only reason it would matter to me is AM winning it would mean we had a very special season. Murray has nothing to prove to Dawg fans as a QB, or leader, he just needs a chammpionship ring to top off his fantastic career. Whether we win the SEC because of our passing game, great running backs, or a much improved defense doesn’t matter to me. I just want the team and staff to be rewarded for what they have accomplished over the past few years instead of being told what they didn’t accomplish. This is a damned tough league at the peak height of its glory and UGA looks to be in the mix for the 3rd straight year, that’s good stuff by any measurement.


  7. Here Here Mac. Woof!


  8. Is it Labor Day yet?


  9. RichDog

    If Murray plays well and gets some wins against the big 4 (Clemson, SC, LSU, Florida) THEN talk to me about Heisman. I think Murray is 1-4 lifetime vs top 5 teams, and 1-10 vs. top 20 teams. That’s not gonna get even a Heisman buzz going. He’s got to somehow figure out a way to play much better in the big televised games. Throwing for 400 yards against sub par opponents but flopping and losing 90% of the time in all big televised games won’t win Heisman trophies for anyone in the SEC.