We’re going to take a bit of a detour from the normal game previews this week on the site. With Georgia football, Auburn football and Kentucky football all enjoying bye weeks at the last available time, a couple of pivotal Southeastern Conference contests with bowl implications line the docket in Arkansas football’s trip to Mississippi State football as well as Ole Miss football’s annual battle with LSU football in the Magnolia Bowl.
The picks for those games as well as the other non-conference matchups will be available a little later on. Now, we’re going to rank the signal callers in the SEC.
It’s hard to argue with the numbers that have been put up by guys like Ryan Mallett and Cam Newton. No one would argue with me if I were to have those two as 1A and 1B in any listing of the best quarterbacks. However, I’m going to break a little from the norm and anoint a redshirt freshman as the SEC’s top QB.
Aaron Murray has been one of the few shining lights in a season full of darkness for the Georgia Bulldogs. Murray has gotten better every week, and his presence in the pocket is much improved from that crucial fourth down fumble Murray coughed up in the waning moments of the fourth quarter in UGA’s loss to Arkansas.
Last Saturday against Auburn, Murray threw one ball off target the entire afternoon – a pass that was just a bit too high for Kris Durham in the third quarter – with the rest of his incomplete tosses being thrown away after no one could break coverage. The freshman did a great job of evading a handful of sacks and couldn’t seem to miss whenever he threw the deep route to superstar receive A.J. Green.
After redshirting in 2009 (one of Mark Richt’s most questionable decisions, in my opinion), Murray has completed 60.4% of his attempts (173-of-285) for 2,079 yards. He has hit pay dirt 15 times against just six interceptions. From all indications, this is just the beginning of what could be a record-breaking and stellar career in the red and black.
Of course, I’m predicating that on Richt sticking around and being able to develop the Tampa, Fla., native. If Georgia’s administration decided to part ways with Richt, all bets are off in Marray’s complete development.
The rest of the conference’s quarterbacks shape up as follows:
1. Aaron Murray, Georgia
2. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
3. Cam Newton, Auburn
4. Stephen Garcia, South Carolina
5. Greg McElroy, Alabama
6. Mike Hartline, Kentucky
7. Jeff Brantley, Florida
8. Tyler Bray, Tennessee
9a. Jarrett Lee, LSU
9b. Jordan Jefferson, LSU
10 Jeremiah Masoli, Ole Miss
11a. Chris Relf, Mississippi State
11b. Tyler Russell, Mississippi State
12. Larry Smith, Vanderbilt
I’m sure fans of Mississippi State football and LSU football will be kind to me in those ratings. Without further ado, here are more bits of ammo for you faithful reader(s) to leave me nasty comments:
• Troy at No. 17 South Carolina (Columbia, S.C., 12:21 p.m. ET, SEC-Network)
Call it now: South Carolina 35, Troy 17
• Appalachian State at Florida (Gainesville, Fla., 12:30 p.m. ET, PPV)
Call it now: Florida 38, Appalachian State 10
• Ole Miss at No. 6 LSU (Baton Rouge, La., 2:30 p.m. CT, CBS)
Call it now: LSU 17, Ole Miss 6
• No. 13 Arkansas at No. 22 Mississippi State (Starkville, Miss., 6 p.m. CT, ESPNU)
Call it now: Arkansas 27, Mississippi State 14
• Tennessee at Vanderbilt (Nashville, Tenn., 6 p.m. CT, FoxSportsNet South)
Call it now: Tennessee 30, Vanderbilt 17
• Rushing’s predictions
Last week: 6-1