Full disclosure: Even if a former Georgia football player wasn't on this season of The Bachelorette on ABC, I'd be watching. While I may dominate the remote during football season, my wife gets a more equal share during the offseason. That means a beyond-healthy dose of country music award shows, House Hunters and, of course, The Bachelor franchise. That being said, I'm not going to pretend I hate it.
What is The Bachelorette?
If you have somehow been fortunate enough to avoid this disaster of unintentional comedy up to this point, then consider yourself one of the lucky few. But if you are new to the show and are somehow now entrapped, you need to understand the following premise.
The Bachelorette centers on one bachelorette and her search for love in all the right places—assuming the right places are exotic California mansions, remote island destinations and private concerts. These locales perfectly mirror everyday life so as to make falling in love through a process of elimination over the course of just a few short weeks all the more realistic.
On Monday night's premiere, Andi, an assistant district attorney from Atlanta and this year's bachelorette, played host to 25 potential suitors. Every week, a few more would-be husbands disappear as she continues to date some individually and go on awkward, large group dates. Meanwhile, America watches the men become increasingly doting of her and petty toward each other.
It's great television, I promise.
So what does this have to do with Georgia football?
Bulldog nation rallied around Monday night's episode in a way I haven't seen since football season ended—seriously. The cause for this uniform flocking to Andi's quest for love: Josh Murray.
To the casual observer, Josh is Aaron Murray's older brother. But there's much more to this guy than being kin to the SEC's all-time leading passer.
Josh himself is an accomplished athlete. In 2002, the Milwaukee Brewers drafted Prince Fielder with their first overall selection in the MLB draft. Fielder, of course, has hit nearly 300 home runs and posted a career .285 batting average in the big leagues. The Brewers' second pick that year was Josh Murray, a utility infielder out of Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida.
Murray bounced around the minor leagues for several seasons before ultimately giving up on his baseball dream. But his time in professional baseball was hardly a net loss. According to Mike Readling of the St. Petersburg Times, Murray's baseball contract yielded a signing bonus of $825,000 and $100,000 for future collegiate education at the college of Josh's choosing.
When his little brother decided to attend the University of Georgia, Josh followed suit. He didn't just enroll in classes, though, he joined the football team as a walk-on safety. In his lone season as a Bulldog (in 2010), Josh appeared in two games and was named to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll.
So sure, Josh was worth rooting for as Aaron's big brother. But he's also his own man, and perhaps more importantly in this case, he's his own Bulldog.
Did Georgia fans really watch this show just to see Josh Murray?
That can't be entirely confirmed, but based on the abnormally high rate of Georgia players watching the show, I think that's a safe assumption.
Aaron Murray eagerly awaited the show.
Running back Keith Marshall joined the action, though he seemed reluctant.
Can't believe I just tweeted that— Keith Marshall (@Truthh4) May 20, 2014
Tight end Jay Rome set the bar high for Josh.
Josh better not be corny like the rest of these clowns— King Musa (@JayRome_87) May 20, 2014
And former Bulldog tight end Arthur Lynch seemed to approve.
Josh Murray coming in hot with his first #Bachelorette sighting. Literally crying laughing. What's the spread in Vegas looking like?— Arthur Lynch (@alynch1788) May 20, 2014
Former Dawg and current graduate assistant Christian Robinson seemed to think Josh's performance reflects well on the Bulldogs' recruiting efforts.
We recuit some fellas with some swag. Let's go Josh.— Christian Robinson (@crob45) May 20, 2014
And Georgia's mythical special teams coach somehow took credit for Josh's survival.
Even tight ends coach John Lilly and the official Twitter of the University of Georgia joined the fun.
Missing The Bachelorette because I'm driving, but that's what DVR is for. Never seen it before but I always support Dawgs like @jmurbulldog— John Lilly (@JohnLillyUGA) May 20, 2014
So how did Murray do?
He got a rose, which is Bachelorette speak for "he survived."
He's moving on to the next round, unlike six less fortunate candidates, but more importantly, he did his school and his conference proud. Showcasing the kind of speed that was patented by the SEC, Murray was the first gentleman to steal Andi away for some alone time.
He engaged her in conversation, offered up his jacket for warmth and avoided extracurricular drama. Josh Murray is in it to win it.
His time as a Bulldog is obviously paying off.