ATHENS, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 23: Head coach Kirby Smart of the Georgia Bulldogs shakes hands with head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies after their 19-13 win at Sanford Stadium on November 23, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Georgia football, Texas A&M going about the same Alabama problem in different ways

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Georgia football-Texas A&M connections continue as two try to take down Alabama

Georgia and Texas A&M have met just once since the latter joined the SEC back in 2012. It was a wet day and the game, like most of those involving Georgia in 2019, was a slugfest where the Bulldogs came out on top.

That game occurred in Jimbo Fisher’s second season at Texas A&M, when he was just getting the program off the ground. The Aggies have signed two more strong recruiting classes and compiled a 9-1 record in the 2020 season.

Related: Texas A&M hires another prized recruiting asset and staffer from UGA

He’s the third Georgia assistant in the past two seasons to leave Athens for the Aggies.

The most high-profile of those departures was James Coley, who left Georgia to become the tight ends coach at Texas A&M. Coley’s time as Georgia’s offensive coordinator was less than desirable for the Bulldogs but his recruiting ability was not something to make light of for Georgia.

His South Florida ties helped Georgia bring in the likes of Tyson Campbell and Tyrique Stevenson. It should be noted Georgia didn’t land a single player out of Coley’s area in the 2021 cycle and do not yet have a commit from the area in the 2022 class.

Georgia also saw Director of Player Personnel Marshall Malchow become the Associate Athletic Director of Player Personnel for Texas A&M. Like Williams and Coley, Malchow was a big part of Georgia’s recruiting efforts.

Clearly, Fisher wants A&M to recruit at the same level that Georgia has been. The Bulldogs have signed a top-four class in each of the past five cycles. The best Texas A&M has done under Fisher is just is fourth, coming in the 2019 cycle. It is the only time the Aggies have finished in the top five since hiring Fisher.

Fisher and Smart have a few things in common beyond the three assistants. They both served as coordinators under Nick Saban. They both know what it’s like to be on the outside looking in on the College Football Playoff in recent years.

Mostly though, Smart and Fisher have the exact same problem: neither has been able to beat Saban.

Smart is 0-3 as a head coach against his former boss. Fisher is 0-4 in his time at Texas A&M and Florida State.

Saban is famously unbeaten against his former assistants. Fisher had long been thought of as the first Saban assistant who could overtake him, with his 2013 National Championship with the Seminoles being a big reason why.

With Smart’s quick rise at Georgia, he then seemed like the former assistant with the best chance of beating the Alabama head coach.

Now both sit in similar situations. Georgia and Texas A&M can contend for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Beating Alabama though, and thus winning a national championship, has proven to be a more difficult task.

The Crimson Tide beat Texas A&M 52-24 last season and then took down Georgia 41-24. Alabama won yet another national championship and signed the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. Slowing down Alabama and Saban isn’t getting any easier.

Texas A&M and Fisher have clearly targeted recruiting as the area it needs to improve in order to catch the Crimson Tide. The Aggies do have Texas to compete with in-state, but a stronger staff could help the Aggies finish in the top five more regularly.

For Georgia, its solution appears to be turning the offense over to Todd Monken. The Bulldogs moved on from Coley after just one season as the offensive coordinator to bring in Monken. While the Georgia offense took some time to come together, things appeared to turn the corner after JT Daniels became the starting quarterback last fall.