In retrospect, a number of standout individual performances catapulted the Bulldogs into the position in which they found themselves at the conclusion of the 2012 campaign.
First, there was Jarvis Jones at Missouri, where the junior linebacker wrecked the Tigers' Welcome-to-the-SEC party. Then, there was Jones at the Earth's-biggest-open-air-adult-beverage-shindig in Jacksonville. On that October day, Jones almost single-handedly won Georgia the SEC East.
There was also plenty of Todd Gurley. Gurley rushed for 100+ yards in nine of Georgia's 14 games, while sharing carries with Keith Marshall. Against Vandy, Tennessee, Florida, Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama and Nebraska, Gurley rushed 142 times for 858 yards (6.04 YPC) and 10 touchdowns.
Of course, quarterback Aaron Murray had a memorable season, too. The junior signal-caller will return for his final season in 2013, looking to top the solid numbers he put together this year. In seven of Georgia's 14 games, Murray threw at least three touchdown passes. He threw for a career-high 427 yards in a win over Kentucky and later tied that record with another 427-yard, 5 touchdown performance against Nebraska en route to earning bowl game MVP honors.
Lest we forget Shawn Williams. The emotional strong safety ignited a lifeless defense with a stirring rant to reporters prior to Georgia's win over Florida. Williams' ruthless words were followed by a tenacious performance by Georgia's talented defense in Jacksonville and set the tone for the rest of the season.
Jones, Gurley, Murray and Williams were each a valuable part of the Bulldogs' successful season.
But who was the most valuable? Dawg Post surveyed its Georgia fans and followers (on message boards and Twitter) to tell us who they felt deserved MVP of the 2012 season and why. Predictably, it was a (very) close race, and here are the results.
1) Jarvis Jones - 30.14%
"...Jarvis. The havoc he caused against Florida won the game that we absolutely had to have. The offense did almost nothing with 6 turnovers that day. Without that game we don't even get our shot at Alabama." - Powerpup
"Jarvis. We lose to Missouri and Florida without his big time play making abilities." - gravy553
"Jarvis since he basically won the Florida game for us. Breaking the school sack record even while missing 2-3 games and facing two triple option teams helps his cause." - dunkaroos8
"Jarvis makes plays in big games and leads in the locker room. He broke Pollack's sack record after missing 2 games and playing 2 against those middle school offenses at the end of the season." - SuwaneeDawg03
"[Jones] broke Pollack's sack record even though he missed a couple games, and he came up huge in our biggest win of the year over then #2 Florida." - fgruber7
"Jarvis. He is the heart and soul of the team. We don't win [against] UF without him." - DawgFanInMO
2) Todd Gurley - 28.76%
"Todd Gurley. Most yards in season since Knowshon, most rushing TD's since Garrison, 6.2 YPC in toughest conference. Freshman." - Bryan (@b_unit8)
"Gurley solidified a running attack that has been missing at UGA since 2008." - David Denson (@DTDenson80)
"Running back was probably the biggest question mark coming into the season. Gurley had the best true freshman performance of anybody in UGA history not named Herschel." - sandersvilledawg
"Gurley because he was the main difference in last years 10-4 season and this years 12-2 season." - 33reasonstobelieve
"[Gurley] was better than Lattimore and McFadden as freshmen. He breaks tackles like he is playing with middle school kids and he was just a freshman. Bama couldnt tackle him either." - UgaDawg00
3) Aaron Murray - 26.03%
"Aaron Murray. If you have to ask why you need your head checked." - Justin Brown (@shortdawg920)
"...Our offense accomplished so much this year. It was tough to lose Brown and Bennett but Murray spread it around and didn't miss hardly a step. His overall leadership added to personal stats make him my MVP." - fred79
"It's hard not to say Jarvis, but when you really think about the value that Murray brings to the team I have to pick him. Best offense we've ever seen at UGA and it all starts with Murray making the right reads, throws, etc." - GitButter
"[Murray] for sure. The way he rebounded after Carolina shows the type of determination we need in Athens. #12-2Baby" - Special K (@3Dawg11)
4) Shawn Williams - 12.33%
"Shawn Williams for his much needed comments to give the Dawgs some fire before the Florida game." - Kyle Fiveash (@kcfiveash)
"Shawn Williams gets my vote. His one rant did more to affect our season than anything any other player did on or off the field." - ctpdawg
"...It's Friend/OLine. The OLine improving is what made us able to beat FLA & play w/ Bama instead of losing like we did to SC." - Jeremiah Tolbert (@NoPlaceAtAll)
"Gurley ran the ball well that opened up the pass for Murray. So I say the [offensive] line that opened the holes for the running game." - dustin28