Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss Texas A&M’s upcoming clash with the Alabama Crimson Tide, and if the Aggies have a chance to finally get a signature win under head coach Jimbo Fisher.
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DAN WETZEL: All right, we talked Monday on the "Overreaction Monday" about Mike Leach's signature victory. And this is what every coach stepping in to a new job wants-- that signature victory that says, hey, things are different here. We're going to win. We're going to be big time-- all of that. And Leach got it done in day 1 with Mississippi State.
We are now in year 3 of the Jimbo Fisher era at Texas A&M-- $75 million contract. He doesn't really have that signature victory. A&M has recruited well since Fisher got there, but we're in year 3. I don't know if they can pull this off. They're 17-points dogs.
They still-- but there should be good, young talent in the program-- I think two straight sixth-ranked recruiting classes. But I guess you wonder, is what-- what's going on at A&M and can Fisher-- Jimbo Fisher, who won a-- won a national title at FSU, but then left an absolute pile of-- clearly, just a train wreck on his way out after he threw his Christmas tree on the curb. One of the great--
Remember that one, too? Fisher's great. I mean--
PAT FORDE: Oh, yeah.
DAN WETZEL: How do we know--
PAT FORDE: You're-- you're--
DAN WETZEL: No comment on whether he's leaving the job, but he just threw his Christmas tree out. Remember that? It was sitting on the curb.
PAT FORDE: [CHUCKLING] Oh, yeah.
DAN WETZEL: Like, I think he might be moving. It's--
PAT FORDE: Ah, interesting game. It is-- I mean, you're totally right, Dan. It's like past time-- [CLEARS THROAT] --for Jimbo to earn his money, and for Texas A&M to do something. You know, if you look at the two programs-- Alabama always lives up to expectations. Texas A&M never lives up to expectations, at least since the Johnny Manziel first year in 2012, when everybody looked like, oh, my gosh. It's like, oh, look out for Texas A&M in the SEC. Here they come.
There's been no carryover from that. That was a blip. And yeah, now what-- what A&M is is a pretty good team that loses to the teams that are better than-- that are ranked higher than them and beats the unranked teams. That's basically who they are.
Fisher has done nothing to elevate them, yet. Their opener, gosh, was an absolute mess against Vanderbilt. They barely beat Vanderbilt 17 to 12, tried over and over to give that game away, had fumbles, and squandered possessions. And that was-- that gives you very little confidence, I think, for them going into this game.
They do tend to play Alabama, in recent years, decently. You know, they-- they don't get blown out. They kind of hang around. They lose by 17 to 20, something like that. And last year, it was 19. They don't lose 50 to 7 to Bama, but they do lose. So it is-- it's way past time, I think, for Jimbo Fisher to earn some of that-- all of that money-- that guaranteed money at Texas A&M.
PETE THAMEL: Has Kellen Mond really developed into what we thought he would be? Remember two years ago, they took Clemson to overtime. I want to say it was in week 2. It might have been week 1. I was in the game in College Station. And Kellen Mond was sort of revelatory. Ooh, Kellen Mond, you know?
And I can't recall-- I mean, he's had moments since then, but I can't recall him developing at the pace and rate of some of the quarterbacks that Jimbo Fisher brought along, you know, during his-- during his time at Florida State. And really, you know, as a-- as an offensive coordinator earlier-- you know, he's had LSU at different points, I would think Kellen Mond has been pedestrian compared to what we hoped and thought he could be.
Now, there's still a long road here, and these are the kind of games where you make your reputation, right? You don't do that against Vanderbilt. But you know, considering how they've recruited, you-- they're just like, what's the identity right now at Texas A&M under Jimbo Fisher? Like-- they're like OK.
DAN WETZEL: Last year, 8 and 5, they have one win over a ranked team, and it was number 25 Oklahoma State in the Texan Bowl-- or Texas Bowl. That isn't what A&M shooting for. So you know, it's like you just keep waiting for A&M to finally get banging. Because if A&M becomes a power, it would not surprise me one bit.
And I don't think it would certainly not surprise anyone at Texas A&M when spending gazillion dollars on everything there. And obviously, you had these moments where you thought, all right, Johnny Manziel is going to be that kick start. And [INAUDIBLE] with Kevin Sumlin, it doesn't happen. And now you got-- you bring in Jimbo Fisher, bring in a national championship coach, and you're still waiting. But I just think this is a big game for them.