Saturdays in Athens


Saturday , 7th October 2023

Believe it or not SEC football fans but this Saturday will close out the first half of the college football regular season. Can you believe that?

The games are upon us thick and fast, with so many storylines to keep track of.

This week, it was actioned pack across the conference. Mizzou are now 5-0, Angry Nick Saban is back with a vengeance, Ole Miss are in hot water again and Kirby says all SEC teams should be ranked!

And if that wasn’t enough the Touchdown grabbed a few words with Aggies legend Von Miller while he was in London with the Bills. Getting his thoughts on the Aggies clash with Alabama!

Phew – what a week!

So welcome back to our weekly round up of life in the Southeastern Conference.

Here are this weeks headlines….let’s get started y’all!

Ms Terry, the Goat!

Tuscaloosa, AL

In some quarters there has been criticism of Alabama head coach, Nick Saban’s lack of passion in criticising his team this season. The most critical have said that the Crimson Tide coach is going soft in his old age. Well, on Saturday Saban rained fire and brimstone down on his team during a first half which looked like an error-strewn road that Alabama had already traveled down this season.

Post Saban rant, Alabama looked like a different team in the second half. Going on to record a resounding 40-17 win on the road against Mississippi State.

When asked what he thought was the difference between the performance of the two halves, Saban simply said he was following instructions,

“Miss Terry told me if we are not playing well to get on their butt” Saban told the press on Monday.

 “So, I just did what I was told”.

As you can see from the video below, that is exactly what Saban did, suggesting there is plenty more fire in this head coach’s belly.

Safety Terrion Arnold was one of those on the wrong end of the hair dryer treatment Saturday. Speaking to the press midweek, Arnold told us what its like,

“I was actually jogging off the field and I thought “dang, he looks mad, he’s going to give it to somebody”…..and then oh, oh it’s me!”

Arnold went on, “you have to not hear how he’s saying but you have to hear what he’s saying. He knows the relationship I have with him and he coaches me hard. When you choose to come here you never know when he’s going to chew you out. People always say you should be worried when he’s not saying something”.


tigers v Tigers

Photo Credit: University of Missouri Athletics

Columbia, MO

This weekend the LSU Tigers travel into Missouri to play the Mizzou Tigers. On this occasion it is the 5-0 Mizzou Tigers playing against the 3-2 Bayou Bengals. Which, as I wrote last week, is not how I expected the season to go for Mizzou. I would also suggest that this is not how LSU fans saw their season going either. Heavy losses to Florida State and last weekend to Ole Miss are blights on their record that they did not expect. 

These defeats mean that LSU is effectively eliminated from the college football playoff early –  in the month of October. As you might imagine this has not gone down well in Baton Rouge.

But in Missouri, the much unfancied Tigers are having a great season.

Going into this game, LSU is a 6.5pt favourite which despite their record so far is to be expected. 


This is not a fixture that you see regularly in college football. In fact this fixture has only been played three times in the teams histories. The last time that the game was played in Columbia was in 2020 with Mizzou taking the spoils. In fact, that was the highest ranked scalp that Mizzou had taken in their history. Mizzou has history and form going into this game.

On the SEC Head coaches teleconference this week, the Mizzou head coach lifted the lid a little on the mindset his team has for everyone, new recruits and transfers. This sums up nicely the spirit and team ethic Coach Drink has in Columbia.

“We have a saying. “This is how we do it around here”. It doesn’t matter what you did at other places – this is how we’re going to do it here. Not everybody has to – you don’t have to – but who is here, is going to. Everyone has individual choices to make but it’s what we do around here that matters”.

It’s going to be fascinating watching where Mizzou go from here.


Ole Miss in hot water again!

Image Credit:USA Today Sports/ Sports Illustrated

Oxford, ms

Field storming has become quite the contentious topic in recent months. College football, including the SEC is attempting to clamp down on over-exuberant fans taking to the field following their teams victory. For some schools, this race onto the field is as part of its culture as mascots or Gameday traditions. Meaning it’s not quite as straightforward as just saying no.

However as we have seen at some games over-exuberance has, on occasion, turned into something more sinister with coach, player and fan safety compromised. And that cannot be allowed into the college game.

While Tennessee and Mizzou have both been fined by the SEC this season already, it was the turn of the Ole Miss Rebels to feel the wrath of the Commissioner this week. While Rebels fans did take to the field post their win over LSU, it was also the delays to the game caused by items being thrown onto the field that caused the SEC to come down hard on Ole Miss. 

The disruption and delay of Saturday night’s game must never be part of any SEC event,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey via a statement from the SEC. “These actions are consistent with the oversight assigned by the membership to the SEC office, including the financial penalty and mandated reviews.”

While the list of actions including a monetary fine fell short of a ban on alcohol sales. The SEC’s statement certainly sent a cautionary message.

“If cans or plastic bottles are used as projectiles or otherwise cause game management issues, the institution is subject to an immediate fine and suspension of the alcohol sales privilege.”

Ole Miss football was also fined $100,000 for the field storming, bringing total fines for this game alone to $175,000.

The Rebels athletic director, Keith Carter said via statement on Monday,

“As our program continues to experience big wins like Saturday, our fans should be more accustomed to those moments and avoid field storming situations. We have the most passionate fans in college athletics, but we must reserve the playing field for our student-athletes and coaches.”

The video footage of the football steward trying to prevent the female football fan taking to the field has now gone viral. It certainly backs the claims that someone is going to get hurt during some of these incidents.

Cut it out people!


Von Miller gives us his thoughts on Aggies v Bama

College Station, TX

While the Buffalo Bills have their sights firmly focused on beating Jacksonville in London, one member of the team has his eye on a little corner of Texas on Saturday.

Von Miller is arguably the Aggies greatest son and is sure to be a College and Pro Football hall of fame in due course. So it’s always interesting to hear Miller’s thoughts on the Aggies.

While Miller was in London preparing for the match up on Sunday at Tottenham, I asked him for his prediction

“The Aggies, we’ve been rollin” said Miller during Fridays press conference in London.

“That loss versus Miami that’s in the past. We play really good football and beat a really good Arkansas team last week and a good Auburn team before then.

And now we’ve got a really big test. But I think our team is built for Alabama, is built for Georgia. So it’s going to be exciting times in College Station. It’s going to be a good one”.


Rank them all you cowards!

Image Credit:SEC Media/ On3

Athens, GA

Georgia Head coach, Kirby Smart is getting a little fed up of the talk of his team’s “favourable” schedule.

As Smart pointed out this week, it’s an SEC schedule so how favourable can it be?

So much so, that Smart – who is not focused on rankings – thinks all SEC teams should be ranked. That’s how tough the SEC is.

“I personally think every SEC team should be ranked, I guarantee there’s some teams that don’t want to play them.

Every team that we play in the SEC is good enough to beat us”. 

With South Carolina and Auburn giving the Dawgs a scare so far this season, Smart has a point. And next up is Kentucky. Which I am sure Smart is thankful for, considering the Dawgs play at home for this one.