The Georgia Bulldogs were on the brink of greatness last season, falling just five yards short of upsetting Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and clinching a spot to play for all the marbles.
That feverish drive that ended with quarterback Aaron Murray running a play instead of spiking the ball at the 8-yard line will live in Bulldog infamy forever, and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo bears some responsibility for it.
However, while Georgia's offense in 2012 will be remembered for what could have been, it should be remembered for what it was—a dynamic offense led by a veteran quarterback that was able to expose opposing defenses on a seemingly weekly basis.
The Bulldogs finished third in the SEC in total offense (467.6 yards per game) and scoring offense (37.8 points per game) last season, and was the most stable part of Georgia's team—a team that was littered with NFL talent on the defensive side of the ball.
The success has translated into some cash and stability for offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Bulldogs have awarded eight coaches raises, including a three-year extension for Bobo that will pay him $575,000 annually—the fourth-highest salary amongst SEC offensive coordinators.
The only other assistant coach on staff with a multi-year contract is defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
“I think he [Bobo] deserved a three-year deal because that’s really what’s happening out here in this league,” head coach Mark Richt told the AJC. “His salary is very competitive with his peers and I think he’s earned that.”
While Bobo has been the subject of intense scrutiny from Bulldog Nation ever since he was elevated to offensive coordinator in 2007, that criticism is misguided. Bobo has proven throughout his career that he has what it takes to lead a dynamic, competitive offense in the nation's toughest football conference.
His offense has finished in the top three in the SEC three times over the last five years (2008, 2011, 2012), and only looks to be getting better.
The Bulldogs have a talented duo of sophomore running backs returning in 2012 with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, have finally achieved some stability on the offensive line and have a young, talented group of wide receivers.
The question isn't "why would Georgia lock him up long term?" It's "why WOULDN'T it?"
Sure, Bobo has an affinity for the draw play on 3rd-and-long, and that may be annoying at times. However, it's also smart football when you're playing in a field position league like the SEC.
The future of the Georgia program is bright, and looks even brighter now that Mike Bobo is locked up for three more years.