Every preseason ranking and power poll heading into this fall will read the exact same for the SEC West: Alabama will be first and Texas A&M will be second. For now, Jimbo Fisher has accomplished Objective One in the Great Aggie Ascendence, climbing over Ole Miss, Arkansas, Mississippi State and even Auburn and LSU to stand as the chief challengers to the Crimson Tide in the West. That's where A&M stands coming off a 9-1 season in which they went undefeated against Everyone But Bama but lost to the Tide by 28 points.
Many others have tried and some have even succeeded during Saban's now ongoing 13-year reign of terror in the SEC. Even the greatest coach of all time can't win every game and hoist every trophy. But while Saban has been beaten on occasion, he's yet to be passed. When someone pulls even with him, he re-boots, re-tools and sprints out ahead yet again. For evidence, see the 2020 season, when he responded to Alabama's first College Football Playoff miss with an undefeated season where the Tide was only challenged once but never truly threatened.
So when Fisher was asked the entirely reasonable question if everyone in college football is really just playing the waiting game until Saban retires, Fisher said, "We're going to beat his ass."
Now before we go any further, we must contextualize this quote. This question came at a Houston Touchdown Club meeting of Aggie boosters. These people paid money -- on top of the money they already give to A&M athletics -- to hear Jimbo speak. Cut them open and they bleed the deepest of maroons. So what is he going to say? "Yep. Check back in 2026 or so, folks."
Furthermore, this was a behind-closed-doors event (so much as such a thing can exist these days considering we all carry recording devices with us at all times.) Joe Namath's guarantee, this was not.
As Jimbo would go on to say complimentary things about his former boss and current friend, one could also hear the competitor in him appreciate the carrot at the end of the measuring stick that Alabama is for A&M. "I respect everything they do and how they do it but we can do it just as good or be just as good or better and we will," That’s what our goal is and what I want. So, we’re going to get it done.”
Not only does Jimbo face a tremendous challenge in remaining ahead of Auburn, LSU and the rest in their pursuit of Alabama, he'll have to perform supernatural jiujitsu to break Saban's hex against his former assistants. Saban is 23-0 against his former aides, including a 4-0 mark against Jimbo.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.