Texas A&M hired Jimbo Fisher to win games like the Aggies face late Saturday night against the Miami Hurricanes.
Texas A&M is favored by 6 points in the 9 p.m. game on ESPN, but Fisher has plenty of critics and doubters on the heels of a 17-14 loss to Appalachian State last Saturday.
The Mountaineers didn’t just win on the scoreboard, they also dominated the stat sheet offensively and defensively, holding the Aggies to less than 100 yards rushing and passing, while controlling the ball more than 40 minutes.
DawgNation asked Fisher to draw on his career to put things into perspective.
“You coach a long time, that happens to you, (and) it happens to everybody who is in coaching,” Fisher said on the SEC teleconference on Wednesday.
“That is one of your great things, you go back to defeats you had; I remember early at LSU when I was the offensive coordinator we lost to UAB in the fourth game of the year and had to play Tennessee the next week who was (11th) and we came back and won the football game.”
Nick Saban in his first season as the head coach of that Tigers team (Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks was a student manager of quarterbacks on that staff), and LSU finished the season 8-4.
Fisher, however, is in his fifth season at Texas A&M and is coming off an 8-4 campaign that saw the Aggies beat Alabama.
Many took that as a sign the program was on the way up, but disappointing losses to Ole Miss (29-19) and at LSU (27-24) sidetracked what could have been a special season.
Texas A&M has gone all in on Fisher, standing behind him when he received a show-cause order for an NCAA violation, and then extending his contract in unprecedented fashion after a 10-2 season in 2020.
The Aggies gave Fisher a four-year contract extension before the 2021 campaign that doubled the size of his buyout if he were to be fired without cause — from $45.6 million to $95.6 million, per USA Today.
The buyout is believed to be approximately $85 million now, which wouldn’t be a bad way to go out for Fisher, who turns 57 on Oct. 9.
Some SEC and Texas A&M fans are comparing Fisher to his predecessor, Kevin Sumlin, and the numbers are indeed eye-opening:
Through 50 games:
Sumlin was 36-14, Fisher is 35-15
Sumlin had five road wins over ranked opponents, Fisher has none.
Sumlin had 9 wins over ranked opponents, Fisher has seven.
And finally, Sumlin did not lose to any non-Power 5 opposition, while Fisher’s Aggies are coming off the defeat to Sun Belt Conference member Appalachian State, which will host ESPN GameDay on Saturday.
Fisher, who made headlines over a very public spat with Saban last summer, is focused more on football than comparisons or fiscal earnings.
RELATED: 4 takeaways from Fisher’s fiery exchange with Saban, including video
“You have to deal with it and move on,” said Fisher, who is expected to make a quarterback change and start Max Johnson, who played his high school football six miles from UGA at Oconee County.
“Big thing is you can’t let one (loss) become two. Fix your problems and move on and play football.”
Miami will be without its leading receiver, Xavier Restrepo, who is out with a foot injury.
The pick: Texas A&M 27, Miami 20
Georgia at South Carolina (noon, ESPN)
Kirby Smart wants to run the ball more effectively, and South Carolina’s banged-up front seven should provide the opportunity as it has lost two starters from a unit that ranks 129th out of 131 teams stopping the run.
RELATED: Georgia linebacker confident Bulldogs are ready for Spencer Rattler
The Gamecocks’ have the best pass game UGA will see until November and should find the end zone multiple times, but not enough.
The pick: Georgia 41, South Carolina 17
Ole Miss at Georgia Tech (3:30 p.m., ABC)
Lane Kiffin has yet to announce a starting quarterback, deciding between USC transfer Jaxson Dart and sophomore Luke Altmyer.
Former Tennessee coach and Georgia DC Jeremy Pruitt is confident the Rebels can score with either.
“Lane is going to score a lot of points, he’a a great play caller,” Pruitt said on the Monday night Ingles on the Beat Show. “They brought in a lot of transfers and they are playing better defensively and there’s a lot of momentum with that program.”
The Pick: Ole Miss 38, Georgia Tech 20
Penn State at Auburn (3:30 p.m., CBS)
The Nittany Lions handed the Tigers a 28-20 loss in Happy Valley last season, and now it’s up to second-year head coach Bryan Harsin to get revenge.
Harsin, of course, is also coaching for his professional life in the SEC after last season’s 6-7 campaign.
The pick: Auburn 23, Penn State 20
Mississippi State at LSU (6 p.m., ESPN)
It’s the first-ever meeting between Mike Leach and Brian Kelly, and Notre Dame’s all-time winningest coach is dialed in on the Air Raid.
“The precision of this scheme, the way it is set up, if you are not taking care of your assignment and doing your job, you’re going to get exposed,” Kelly said.
The pick: Mississippi State 30, LSU 27
Louisiana-Monroe at Alabama (4 p.m., SEC Network)
Louisiana-Monroe beat Alabama 21-14 in 2007, and yes, Nick Saban was the head coach of the Tide.
The pick: Alabama 49, Louisiana Monroe 14
South Florida at Florida (7:30 p.m., SEC Network)
BYU beat South Florida 50-21 two weeks ago in Tampa.
The pick: Florida 45, South Florida 10
Vanderbilt at Northern Illinois (3:30 p.m. CBS Sports Network)
The Huskies are all about running the ball and the Commodores aren’t too bad in that area.
The pick: Vanderbilt 24, Northern Illinois 21
Youngstown State at Kentucky (noon, SEC Network)
Mark Stoops is 20-9 in one-score games. That won’t apply this week.
The pick: Kentucky 38, Youngstown 10
Abilene Christian at Missouri (noon, ESPN-Plus)
The pick: Missouri 45, Abilene Christian 13
Missouri State at Arkansas (7 p.m., ESPN-Plus)
The pick: Arkansas 40, Missouri State 10
Akron at Tennessee (7 p.m., ESPN-Plus)
The pick: Tennessee 48, Akron 0