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SEC Coaches Tab UGA QB Murray as Preseason All-Conference, Not A&M’s Manziel

gfx - by the numbersNow here’s an interesting little bit of news.  The SEC today released its coaches’ preseason all-conference selections.  The first-team All-SEC quarterback selection?  It’s not last year’s Heisman-winner.

The league’s coaches voted Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray into the first-team slot.  Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel can be found on the second-team list.  Alabama’s AJ McCarron — who will be going for his third BCS title this year — was listed as the league’s third best quarterback.

Clearly, it’s not too hard to figure out why Manziel failed to make the first-team squad.  First, there’s the whole NCAA cloud hanging over his head right now.  Second, Manziel recently described himself as a “loose cannon,” saying “What makes me special on the field is what people don’t like off the field.”  Well, you know what most coaches don’t like?  A guy who’s a loose cannon off the field.  The majority of SEC coaches must have looked at the current Manziel situation and thought, “Would I want those headaches in my program?”

Looks like they answered that one “no.”

So while it’s not a total shock to find Manziel off the first-team, it is a bit surprising to see Murray — and not McCarron — listed with the top squad.  Both are good leaders and both can do damage to opposing defenses.  But one of the two has led his team to two BCS titles.  Whether a quarterback should get all of the credit (or blame) when it comes to a team’s record in big games is debatable.  What isn’t debatable is that we do typically credit signal-callers for championships, fair or not.  Which would suggest that if anyone were going to slip past Manziel for first-team quarterback honors, it would have been McCarron, not Murray.

Here are the stats for all three quarterbacks last season, looking only at games against BCS-level opponents:

 

  Player   School   Games   Comp. %   Pass Yds   TD   INT   QB Rtg   Rush Yds   Rush TD
  AJ McCarron   Alabama   11   66.7   2369   22   3   167.27   21   1
  J. Manziel   Texas A&M   9   69.8   2576   13   7   146.95   927   12
  A. Murray   Georgia   11   645   2963   27   9   166.77   -61   1

 

But perhaps there is another stat that helped Murray achieve first-team status… a stat that undermines the “can’t win the big one” tag so many have tried to hang on him.

A look at last year’s passing numbers for all three quarterbacks reveals that Murray’s game went to another level in second halves.  His quarterback rating jumped from 165.16 in first halves all the way to 186.59 in second halves and overtimes.  His TD to interception ratio was an incredible 20-1 against all foes in second-half action last season.

McCarron’s numbers went up slightly from one half to another (173.57 to 178.99) while Manziel’s numbers dropped a hair (156.50 to 153.09).

So maybe Murray got the nod from the coaches because they would prefer not seeing him leading a comeback drive against their squad late in a ball game.

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Mizzou QB Franklin Expected To Play Against Kentucky?

After missing Saturday’s 42-10 loss to Alabama, Missouri starting quarterback James Franklin is expecting to return to the Tigers’ lineup against Kentucky in two weeks.  Franklin sprained his left knee in the first quarter of a loss to Vanderbilt two weeks ago.

He also missed Mizzou’s win over Arizona State earlier this season with a sore shoulder that he’d had worked on surgically in the offseason.

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