Welcome to SEC Unfiltered, the USA TODAY NETWORK's newsletter on SEC sports. Look for this newsletter in your inbox every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Today, Knoxville News Sentinel columnist John Adams takes over:
Most football fans are all about loyalty. They stick with their team it’s good or bad, exciting or dull.
And because they endure the dark days, the bright days are that much brighter. No wonder, Georgia fans were so ecstatic over beating Alabama for the national championship.
The Bulldogs hadn’t won a national championship since 1980. So, you could say that victory was 41 years in the making. And it meant the most to the longtime fans who experienced all the setbacks, disappointments and near misses along the way.
Coaches and players can’t match that kind of loyalty. The transfer era has made that more apparent than ever to fans.
Most fans already have been conditioned to coaches switching programs for a few dollars more. Now, fans are forced to deal more with the sudden mobility of players. Their allegiance to a school can vanish faster than you can say “NIL.”
Consider the case of Georgia wide receiver Jermaine Burton. After he helped the Bulldogs defeat Alabama, he celebrated the national championship by figuring out his best transfer destination. He decided on Alabama.
Why not? The Tide have a better quarterback than the Bulldogs. It can be that simple for some players.
Many players have no problem leaving one program for another. And rivalries don’t factor into their decision any more than they do for NFL free agents.
It’s just business.
Business always seems to be booming in the SEC. It’s booming the most for programs who are on the plus side of the transfers transactions.
Elli Ricks, one of the nation’s premier cornerbacks, left LSU for SEC West rival Alabama. LSU responded by taking two starting defensive backs, Joe Foucha and Greg Books, from West rival Arkansas.
It’s too early to tell how much an active transfer market will affect college football’s hierarchy. But the early results suggest it won’t put a dent in Alabama’s dynasty.
The Tide are assembling another possible No. 1 recruiting class. They also have added three potential starters in transfers Ricks, Burton and former Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs.
That’s hardly surprising. Coach Nick Saban hasn’t won six national championships at Alabama by standing pat. He has kept adjusting to a changing game.
He’s a good bet to excel in the transfer game, too.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: SEC Newsletter: Nick Saban is already rebuilding through transfer portal