It seems like Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray has been around the SEC for a decade, but the rising junior still has plenty to prove as an SEC signal-caller.
The Tampa native is off to a strong start in 2012, completing 68.2 percent of his passes for 1,370 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions so far this year.
Murray's early-season success has landed him near the top of many Heisman watch lists, including the No. 3 spot from CBSSports.com.
With that being said, Murray has posted only a 2-8 record against teams that were ranked in the Top 25 at the time of the game—beating No. 20 Auburn and No. 23 Georgia Tech last season.
That lack of success against top-tier competition has some asking when Murray will post a "signature win."
Head coach Mark Richt addressed those questions in the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph:
I don’t think Murray is in need of any kind of a signature victory to validate the type of player he is. I think some quarterbacks, when they’re early in their career, somewhere along the way they need to play in such a way that the team has faith that this guy can do it. And sometimes it happens to a kid real early in his career.
Richt is right.
Murray doesn't need a "signature win" because what he's accomplished in his first two-plus years in Athens has already solidified him as an elite quarterback.
You don't accidentally fall into a 10-game winning streak, a division title and a single-season school record of 35 touchdown passes in a season, all of which he accomplished in 2011.
Those things are accomplished with hard work, outstanding leadership and big wins—even if they're against what's perceived as subpar competition.
If Murray needs a "signature win," he has his chance to get it this week when he and the Bulldogs cross the state line to take on No. 6 South Carolina.
If Georgia gets the win, the imaginary monkey will be off Murray's back.
It's only an imaginary monkey, though. Murray will already go down as one of Georgia's most successful quarterbacks in program history, and Saturday's outcome won't sway that one way or the other.
Georgia—the team—needs a win this weekend to stay in the discussion for the SEC East and BCS National Championship discussion, and Murray is a big part of that equation.
But the notion that Murray personally needs it to justify his career is ridiculous.