Aaron Murray or AJ McCarron? Which QB has the edge entering the SEC Championship Game?
By TIM COUCH FS South
Breaking down the quarterbacks, Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Alabama’s AJ McCarron, in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game:
They’re asked to do to different things in their systems.
With AJ McCarron, some people think it’s a knock on a guy to be called a game-manager. I think that’s a compliment, because as a quarterback you have to manage games, you have to manage situations and I think that’s decision making with the football and checks at the line of scrimmage and being accurate with the football. I don’t think many people do that better than AJ does.
He does exactly what they want him to do in that system: don’t turn the football over -- he’s thrown 25 touchdowns and only two interceptions on the season -- and throw accurately on play-action because they run so well.
McCarron has done all those things extremely well.
With Aaron Murray, he’s asked to do a little bit more in his offense. They spread you out a little bit more than Alabama does.
He’s been outstanding, with 30 touchdowns on the season. But I think you can look at his last four games and he’s really played as well as anyone in the country with no interceptions and 13 touchdown passes.
He’s certainly playing at a high level right now and he’s going to be ready for this one Saturday.
A defining moment for Murray
Obviously it’s a game that’s going to mean a lot to both of these guys, with a chance to go on and play for a national title riding on it.
But certainly if you look at what Murray’s been through and as successful as he’s been in his career – he’s been a starter there since he was a freshman and put up unbelievable numbers for four years in a row – he hasn’t won that big game that everybody wants Georgia to win because they’re so talented and he’s so talented.
I think it would mean more to Murray just because it’s that game that proves him as a quarterback. It would put a stamp on his career. He’ll have won an SEC title, he’ll have beaten Alabama. I think if he’s able to do that and take his team to a national title, it would certainly be bigger to Murray.
Which QB has the edge?
When AJ has had a bad game this season, it was when they were behind. He threw two interceptions in the loss to Texas A&M, likely because they were behind so fast early in the game.
He was asked to do something he’s not used to doing, which is to try and throw the football and get them back in the game.
I think if Georgia can come out and get on them early then that certainly gives Murray a better chance.
The facts are if you look at Murray's career, he’s struggled against elite defenses, especially this season against the top two defenses he’s faced in South Carolina and Florida. He struggled in both of those games and Alabama is probably going to be better than both of those teams.
If I had to give the edge one way or the other, I would give it to McCarron.
He’s been in these situations. He has a better track record of playing big in big games. If you look at the way he played in the BCS Championship Game last year, he was phenomenal and he threw the football well.
I think McCarron knows how to handle the situation a little better.