Saturdays in Athens

by George Somerville

“bowl season” 

18th December 2021

Welcome to our weekly round up of life in the Southeastern Conference.

Now that the regular season is finished the floodgates opened for the free movement of both coaches and players. No surprise then that this week’s news is dominated by new coaching hires and players entering and exiting the transfer portal. 

So here are this weeks headlines…Let’s get started y’all!

Bo Nix enters the transfer portal

Lanning Heads to Oregon

Rattler heads to USC, but not that USC…

Bryce Young, your 2021 Heisman winner

Bo Nix enters the transfer portal

Photo Credit:Butch Dill, AP

Auburn, AL

The transfer portal has been a popular place this week but I don’t think many could foresee Auburn’s wunderkind and undoubted QB1, Bo Nix being at the front of the line to transfer away from Jordan Hare. But he was.

Nix announced his intention to transfer via his Instagram page late on Sunday night, taking college football by surprise.

Nix said,

“I’ve made so many decisions for Auburn, and now it’s time to do what’s best for me. It’s time that I move on to the next chapter in my life. To reach further goals, I’ve decided it’s best to be a grad transfer and find a new start somewhere else. I make this decision with a heavy heart and a lot of growing pain. A wise man once told me that in order to be great, you have to take risks.”

So an interesting move by the Alabama native. Where next for Nix? A few destinations have been mooted including reuniting with former Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn or perhaps more interesting moving North to join Scott Frost in Nebraska. 

One point to note is that while Nix has entered the transfer portal, per Auburn Wire at USA Today, Nix has a “do not contact” tag on the portal, suggesting he knows where his next destination is.

While we are in Auburn, the Tigers were dealt another blow with the news that star running back Tank Bigsby had also entered the transfer portal. Or had he?

Confusion seemed  to reign with PFF College Football later running a story that Bigsby would be staying with the Tigers. None of this is great news for Auburn Head Coach, Bryan Harsin.


Lanning Heads to Oregon

Photo Credit: Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sport

Athens, GA

Following the news that Orgeron Head Coach, Mario Cristobal had taken up the vacant Miami job, Oregon moved quickly to appoint Dan Lanning as Cristobal’s replacement.

Lanning was of course, defensive coordinator at Georgia from 2019 to 2021

Lanning’s story is a relatively meteoric rise to the top of his profession. Eleven years ago Lanning had not yet started his coaching career but within a span of just over a decade he has become Head Coach at one the premier Universities in the Country.

Kirby Smart lured Lanning away from Memphis where he was a linebackers coach and more importantly the Tigers recruiting coordinator.

Smart said of Lanning’s role in the play-offs for UGA,

“While he will coach with us for the upcoming College Football Playoff, we will move forward with Glenn Schumann and Will Muschamp as co-defensive coordinators.”

Which kind of keeps us guessing as to whether Lanning will actually be coaching in the Orange Bowl. Your guess is as good s mine.


Rattler heads to USC, but not that USC…


Columbia, SC

As I said at the intro, the transfer portal has been a busy place this week. Aside from Nix,Southern Cal QB, Kedon Slovis, LSU QB’s Max Johnson and Myles Brennan and Texas A&M’s Zach Calzada.

However, the player who kick started this gold rush, Spencer Rattler found himself a home this week as others were just announcing their entering of the portal.

Given that ex- Sooners Head Coach, Lincoln Riley is now at USC, it would not be outwith the realms of possibility that Rattler may join Riley at USC.

So news this week that Rattler had joined USC was perhaps not so surprising. Except Rattler did not join Southern Cal. Rattler joined Shane Beamer’s South Carolina and so will play his football next season in the SEC.

This makes perfect sense given that Shane Beamer recruited Rattler at Oklahoma and knows the QB’s game well. And it will be exciting to see how Rattler leads the very exciting team that Beamer is building in Columbia.

Gamecocks Head Coach, Shane Beamer said of the impact the news of Rattler’s signing had made,

“South Carolina football was the talk of the nation I think on Monday night…and the resonated with a lot of prospects across the country as well”.

Indeed. Exciting times ahead for Gamecocks fans.


Your 2021 Heisman winner

Photo credit: Kent Gidley | Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics)

Tuscaloosa, AL.

The 2021 Heisman presentation ceremony was held at the Lincoln Centre in New York City on Saturday night.

The finalists Kenny Pickett, Aidan Hutchinson, CJ Stroud and Bryce Young waited patiently as the ceremony unfolded.

In the end the voting wasn’t close and it was Alabama’s young quarterback, Bryce Young who took the trophy back to Tuscaloosa.

With wide receiver Devonte Smith taking the trophy to Tuscaloosa in 2020, this meant the Crimson Tide would have back to back Heisman winners.

But another stat which is even more startling is that Young is the first Alabama qurterback ever to win the Heisman. Yes, ever, 

Despite the Crimson Tide’s dominance of college football in the last decade, Young is only the fourth Alabama player to lift the trophy. Running backs Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry won the award in 2009 and 2015 respectively. Smith was last years unanimous winner.

In the end the result was a landslide with Young receiving 684 first place votes and appearing on 90% of ballots. Young would secure 83% of all possible voting points.