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Texas A&M Football

History should guide those making early judgments on Fisher era at A&M

July 8, 2020
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If instant coffee is appealing, why are there long lines at Starbucks?

Yet, it seems there are those — especially in college football national media — that think quality should be instantaneous.

Apparently, that’s the case when it applies to Jimbo Fisher, who has been a frequent target of manipulated stats and skewed opinions since becoming Texas A&M’s head football coach two and a half years ago.

The latest shot came from CBS Sports writer Barrett Sallee, who recently disparaged Fisher’s 17-9 record in his first two seasons at A&M. Sallee termed the 2020 season a “put-up-or-shut-up” year for Fisher.

Bashing Fisher’s first two seasons at A&M is at least short-sighted. At most, it’s ignorant.

True, A&M did not agree to pay Fisher $7.5 million per year for 17 victories in two seasons. Some fans, of course, might be dissatisfied. Impatience is a common trait among college football fans.

Rey Romo, TexAgs
Two years ago, CBS Sports called Jimbo Fisher the fourth-best coach in the nation.

College football media should know better.

Two years ago, CBS Sports published its rankings of the top college football coaches. Fisher was ranked No. 4 on that list.

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney was third. Washington’s Chris Peterson was fifth. TCU’s Gary Patterson was sixth. Penn State’s James Franklin was 10th.

Interestingly, Swinney was 15-12 in his first two full seasons as Clemson’s head coach. Peterson was 15-12 at Washington. Patterson was 16-8, and Franklin was just 14-12.

Even Saban — considered by many the best coach in college football history — was 18-8 in his first two seasons at Alabama.

None of them played the treacherous schedule Fisher faced in his first two seasons in College Station.

The college football media tends to rave about the job done by Florida head coach Dan Mullen, and rightly so. In two seasons under Mullen, Florida has posted a 21-5 record.

However, there’s little comparison to the schedules that Mullen and Fisher have faced.

First of all, Florida plays in the lesser SEC East division.

Secondly, the Gators have had played non-conference ACC opponents Florida State and Miami twice — neither of which had a winning season in 2019. Florida State hasn’t had a winning season in either of the last two seasons.

The Gators have also played a pair of FCS opponents in each of Mullen’s first two seasons in Gainesville.

By comparison, A&M faced Alabama, LSU and Auburn each year in the SEC West, as well as contests against Clemson (twice) and Georgia.

Again, that’s not a knock on Florida and Mullen. But the fact is if Mullen’s Gators had faced the same schedule as the Aggies, their record would likely be the same as A&M’s under Fisher.

Also, a strong argument could be made that Mullen inherited a stronger program than Fisher did. Florida’s previous two recruiting classes before Mullen’s arrival were both ranked higher than A&M’s.

John Glaser/USA Today Sports
Fisher has endeared himself in Aggieland early on, but A&M expects more success in the near future.

True, A&M isn’t content to be compared with Florida. A&M hired Fisher to contend for national championships. That means beating Alabama and LSU more than just once per decade or so.

Fisher appears to be building an A&M program capable of challenging the SEC’s strongest teams. His last two A&M recruiting classes have been ranked third and sixth in the nation. And Fisher has a stronger reputation than his predecessor for developing the talent he recruits.

That recruiting combined with a more forgiving schedule absolutely raises expectations for 2020. A 10-win season is a realistic goal — perhaps even a modest goal. The Aggies could (maybe even “should”) realistically challenge for the SEC championship.

But if they fall short for whatever reason, that won’t mean Fisher has been or will be a failure at Texas A&M.

No one would consider Mack Brown’s tenure at Texas a failure. Yet, Brown only won two conference championships and did not win the national title until his eighth season in Austin.

Similarly, Swinney did not win a national title until his eighth full season at Clemson.

That shows that building a championship-caliber college football team usually takes time.

National media should know that. Maybe they should wake up and smell the coffee.

Discussion from...

History should guide those making early judgments on Fisher era at A&M

6,557 Views | 12 Replies | Last: 4 mo ago by greg.w.h
northeastag
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AG
All fair points. Who could have imagined four or five years ago that our schedule would be as tough as it was. One can only wonder what our record would have been in 2019 if we still had our former coach.

But it is difficult, looking at this year's schedule (assuming we play), to not think of it as a put up or shut up type of year. Two very good recruiting classes, a senior QB that Fisher obviously likes (although many of us don't), and a team that lost fewer quality starters than most of our opponents.

You can't call him a failure yet. That's not reasonable at all. But another 8-4 season, well...........
Agsuffering@bulaw
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You are too kind.

Most in the media are too ignorant/prejudiced to consider context. Both of Jimbo's sagarin ratings have been better than all of Sumlin's years except JFF's Heisman year.

Sagarin Rating

19: 19th
18: 12th
----Sumlin Fired
17: 43rd
16: 30th
15: 33rd
14: 22nd
----JFF fone
13: 22nd
12: 3rd


Recruiting Rank
20: 6th
19: 4th
18: 17th
----Sumlin fired
17: 13th
16: 18th
15: 11th
14: 5th
----JFF gone
13: 9th
12: 16th
HateMeNowAggie
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If things are based of recruiting team rankings then Ags will continue to get beat by Elite teams...Bama ,Georgia,LSU will always be in Top for recruiting...Playing weaker schedule want gain respect from media Ags need to beat Bama ,Auburn , LSU on road..If not Ags will always contend for 3rd or 4th in Division...With high % of returning players this year is definitely a New Years 6 Bowl Game or Bust...
Ag87reg
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AG
Great commentary...thanks for the realistic perspective!
Iraq2xVeteran
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AG
The Auburn and Alabama games are on the road, but the LSU game is at home. I believe we have a better chance of beating LSU at home than Auburn on the road. When LSU visits us on 11/28, they will be coming off a difficult road game at Auburn, and I predict they will lose that game. Since 2000, LSU is 3-7 at Jordan-Hare stadium, including 0-3 under Nick Saban. Their only wins at Auburn were in 2008, 2012, and 2018, and I don't think LSU will win two games in a row at Jordan-Hare stadium. We will be coming off a loss at Alabama. With both LSU and Texas A&M motivated to bounce back from these tough road loses, home field advantage could be the biggest factor in determining the outcome.

In odd years, we host Auburn and Alabama and visit LSU, and Jimbo Fisher needs to start winning home games against them. In 2021, I expect us to finally beat Auburn at home after losing previous home games to them in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019. We defeated Auburn on the road in 2012, 2014, and 2016. The winning streak by the road team in the Texas A&M vs Auburn series was intact until we blew a 24-14 lead with 5:14 to lose 28-24 in 2018. That loss costed us an opportunity to finish 6-2 finish in SEC games, which would have been second to Alabama, a 9-3 regular season, and a 10-3 season. I believe that loss also costed us a NY6 bowl appearance because we would have finished a full game ahead of LSU in the SEC standings. Yes, we technically finished 2nd place in the SEC West, but 9-3 LSU was ranked ahead of 8-4 Texas A&M and defeated UCF 40-32 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Agsuffering@bulaw
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Quote:

If things are based of recruiting team rankings then Ags will continue to get beat by Elite teams...Bama ,Georgia,LSU will always be in Top for recruiting...Playing weaker schedule want gain respect from media Ags need to beat Bama ,Auburn , LSU on road..If not Ags will always contend for 3rd or 4th in Division...With high % of returning players this year is definitely a New Years 6 Bowl Game or Bust...


How many returning starters make a 2 deep for the Big 3? Maybe half?

Mond- yes
Spiller- yes
Ainias- probably, in the right system
Wydermeyer- yes
Kenyon- eventually
D. Moore- maybe
3 other OL- no
WRs- no

Brown-yes
Peevy- no
Leal- yes
Tyree-no

Buddy- yes
Hines-yes

NB?- no
Blades- probably, if healthy
Myles- no
Oneal-no
Richardson- yes


All 3 big defenses will have the advantage up front. All 3 bigs should have CBs good enough to allow the safety to come down. Wydermeyer, Spiller and Ainias are good but not better than most B3 defenders. Jimbo must find *****s in the schemes and Mond must be highly effecient.

Our front should defend run adequately. We will be disadvantaged defending pass unless several step up. We probably must gamble to force the issue.

We probably have enough defense, if the offense handles business. But our defense is not likely to hold a B3 to 17 points or force a bunch of turnovers.
Jarrin' Jay
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northeastag said:

Two very good recruiting classes.....

That are all Soph., RS FR, or true FR, that is not a recipe to beat Alabama and Auburn and LSU or win 2 out of those 3.

I expect a good season, 9 or 10 wins total with or without bowl win. But the turning point will actually be the 2021 season, even with a new QB. Jimbo is building an incredibly talented roster, but a super talented 18-19 year old inexperienced player going against 21-22 year old experienced players is not how you win big, particularly on the line of scrimmage.

Fisher inherited alot of dead weight on the back half of the roster that is being culled, and even the top half is being replaced with better players.

Player development and player maturity is key. Look at 2 players we had last season, one on OL and one on DL, true fish, both played really well, but will be better in 2020 and elite players in 2021.

Jimbo will stack another high-level recruiting class on top of the previous 2, that is how you build depth and a winning program.

Challenger 17
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AG
I don't want to hear about how our QB is a freshmen next year and is inexperienced. Trevor Lawrence won a natty as a freshman. King will have some Great weapons weapons on offense assuming he's the starter. He will also have a year to learn the system behind Mond.
HateMeNowAggie
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You do realize most of these players on A&M roster had Offers from Big 3 but chose Aggies...Some actually could go play in better system and flourish...Point I was trying to make is you have to beat Big 3...
Agsuffering@bulaw
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Yes, eventually. But '21 or '22 is probably when we catch LSU and we won't catch Bama until something shifts.

We caught Auburn overall, but they are at home and have more impact upperclassmen. We should be favored next year. We are not as close to LSU.

Hines was the only '17 returning contributor offered by Bama. 4/12 by LSU. 6/12 by Auburn.

Mond- LSU/AUB
Ausbon- LSU/AUB
Buckley- AUB

C. Green- none
Hocker- none
D. Moore- none
R. McCollum- none

Tyree- Aub
Peevy-none
Clemmons- Aub

Hines- ALL 3
Buddy- None
Hansford- None

Myles- none
Chattman-LSU

18 class

B. Brown- Bama/LSU
Martin- Bama
Oneal- Bama/LSU
Beal-Bama/LSU
Small-none

8 who have done nothing still in the program. 7 have transferred out. Jace went pro. Jackson retired. Hopefully Brown returns. Small returns. Probably half the others remaining from '18 will be attrition.
HateMeNowAggie
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How can you say they have done nothing but they are still playing. Jimbo plays whom he thinks are best players not what social media says... Every last one of those kids you names will likely be Opening day starters so that tells you who Jimbi trust....
greg.w.h
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AG
Jimbo passes my sniff test. He is not exceeding expectations. I expect that to start happening, but this year is a mess and it won't be his fault.
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