Saturdays in Athens


Saturday, 30th September 2023

This week the schedule throws up the Deep South’s oldest rivalry meaning SEC match ups are coming at us thick and fast. Oh to be on the plains this weekend for some real Southern tailgating!

But, if you can’t, read on to find out what has been happening around the Southeastern Conference this week.

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

Bad news for Aggies fans

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

College Station, TX

Terrible news out of College Station for Aggies fans this week. Despite an initial prognosis of a high ankle sprain, by Wednesday it had been confirmed that Aggies quarterback, Conner Weigman’s injury will keep him out for the rest of the season.

Weigman’s season had got off to a blistering start, throwing for 979 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. With a completion percentage of 68.9 % in his first four games.

Speaking on the SEC head coaches midweek teleconference, Fisher confirmed the rumours which had been spreading across the SEC,

“We thought everything was fine… They got a CAT scan, and it showed up with some things that they’ll have to go in and fix. We hate to lose Conner for our football team. We’re blessed to have Max Johnson and feel very confident in him, and we’re going to keep right on pace.”

Given his start to the season, this is a blow to the Aggies. However, Max Johnson is a very capable QB who would be QB1 at many other schools. 

In the time that Johnson had on the field last Saturday as Weigman’s replacement against Auburn, the Aggies scored 21 points with Johnson completing 7 of 11 passes for 123 yards.

Texas A&M faces off against Arkansas this Saturday. Last season Johnson led the Aggies to a victory over the Razorbacks in Arlington.


Defense wins championships

Photo Credit: Jesse Gann/Gainesville Sun

Gainesville, FL

There are signs that Florida head coach Billy Napier is making his mark in Gainesville.

Going into Saturday’s match up with Kentucky the Gators have the #1 ranked defense in the SEC and #5 nationally. Which is quite an achievement for first year Gators defensive coordinator Austin Armstrong.

So far this season the Gators have allowed just 245 yards per game and less than 90 rushing yards per game. With 13.5 points surrendered per game the Gators seem on track to stop the bleeding of points that their fans have seen in the last few years. 

Napier talked to the media on Thursday about the progress that he has seen on the defensive side of the ball,

“Well, we’re off to a good start,” Napier said. “I do think we will continue to be challenged every week in our league. We played a good quality defense (against Charlotte). I think the exciting thing, we are in year two in the system.”

“I think we’re doing a better job making use of our time,” Napier continued. Anticipating what’s next. The teacher is in year two, not just the student. I also think that we’ve added some really good pieces there from a personnel standpoint. Significant inside players. Some really good young players on the edges and in the secondary.”

Kentucky head coach, Mark Stoops has also created a strong defensive mindset with the Wildcats, meaning Saturday’s showdown in Lexington could easily be a low-scoring affair.

The Wildcats are a 1.5pt favourite going into this game. It’s looking like a tight affair and with a noon kick off time in Kentucky, an early game that you should not miss! 


Michael Trigg leaves the rebels

Photo Credit: George Somerville

Oxford, MS

Tight End Michael Trigg’s turbulent time in Oxford came to an end this week when the Ole Miss Rebels confirmed he had left the program.

The reasons behind Trigg exiting the program still aren’t entirely clear, however, he missed the start to the season due to internal disciplinary reasons. Trigg did not suit up for the Alabama game.

On Wednesday’s SEC head coaches teleconference call, Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin had little to say on the subject.

“We wish him nothing but the best,” Kiffin said. “You know, that’s it. We wish him nothing but the best. He’s not part of our program, and that’s it.”

Trigg arrived on a transfer from USC two years ago along with QB Jaxson Dart. Sadly, Trigg’s trajectory has not matched Dart’s who has established himself as the Rebels QB1 and one of the best QB’s in the SEC.


Deep South's oldest rivalry

Image Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn, AL

The SEC football schedule reignites the Deep South’s oldest rivalry on Saturday when Georgia travels into the cauldron of Jordan Hare to face Auburn.

While Auburn is still trying to find its identity under new head coach Hugh Freeze, their opponent is a known quantity – two time national champions, the Georgia Bulldogs.

This rivalry was first played in 1892 and this game will be the 127th time that the old rivals have faced off. The Bulldogs hold a series lead over the Tigers in the match, with winning record of 63-56 with 8 ties. Georgia is on a 6-game winning streak against the Tigers and will need to make it seven if they are to march onwards to a record-breaking third successive ‘Natty’.

The intense noise inside Jordan Hare, known to be one of, if not the loudest environments in the SEC, is likely to be the biggest opponent to Georgia, given the current misfiring of the Auburn offense.

The question therefore is how Bulldogs QB Carson Beck will cope under such an intimidating atmosphere?

Georgia head coach, Kirby Smart addressed this during his midweek press conference,

“That’s something that we’re going to find out. I don’t think you know. I think he’s been through some ups and downs. He’s certainly been against good defenses like Auburn has. He goes against our guys. It’s different when it’s live. So you gotta find out how he responds to that, and I’m very confident in Carson’s ability to communicate, to understand things. He’s been in our system. You know, you only get good at these situational football things by playing football for a long time. And he’s been with us for a while doing it. This is his first chance to do it on the road.”

With Georgia’s schedule perceived by many to be favourable this season, the road trip to Auburn is seen as the first real challenge that Kirby Smart’s team faces this year.

Georgia is a 14.5 favourite going into this game but don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs beat the spread by some margin in this game.

#Go Dawgs #WarEagle