Jimbo Fisher has $75 million guaranteed and the keys to one of the most powerful college football programs in America.
That’s the question most fans are going to want answered quickly after the Aggies decided to dump Kevin Sumlin and lure Fisher away from Florida State with a contract that will pay him $7.5 million per season for the next decade.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman, the answer requires some pretty serious progress for the Texas A&M program within a fairly short time frame. The author and FOX Sports personality made an appearance on WJOX-FM’s The RoundTable on Birmingham radio on Tuesday afternoon, and the topic of Fisher’s expectations and impact on the SEC West race was a topic of discussion.
Feldman set the bar of expectations for Aggies fans: Nationally recognized success within three years.
“Jimbo Fisher is now going into the deep end of the pool with that division,” Feldman said of the move from Florida State to the SEC West. “And he knows it. I look at Florida State and I think they could be a Top 10 team next year, or at least a fringe Top 10 team. I’m not sure that Texas A&M can get up to that level– I think they could be a Top 25 team.
“What I’m curious about is if the expectations are going to be higher for Jimbo Fisher because they’re paying him $75 million dollars guaranteed. He has won a national title [at Florida State]. The question I have would be what would be considered fulfilling that? At what point do you get to this Jim Harbaugh point we seem to be at with Michigan where if you do not get to the playoff? Is it three years? Is it four years? Where are we on this? That’s the question I would have because, remember, Kevin Sumlin went 11-2 and had a Top 5 season during his first year at A&M and then all of a sudden it was a bunch of eight-win seasons and that clearly wasn’t good enough. I think within at least the first three years, at some point, Jimbo Fisher has to get them within the Top 10, if not the playoff, because they’re paying a ton of money for him.”
Is that a fair expectation in a division alongside Nick Saban at Alabama and Gus Malzahn at Auburn? Texas A&M fans have varying opinions on that.
On one hand, you have access to premier facilities and an in-state recruiting talent pool as rich as any in the country. On the other, Saban simply doesn’t lose games. He’s proven that in Tuscaloosa for a decade.
Fisher, now 52, had nine or more victories in each of his first seven seasons in Tallahassee before slipping to 5-6 in 2017. He coached the Seminoles to a national championship victory over Malzahn’s Auburn squad during the 2013 season.
You can listen to the duration of Feldman’s interview with WJOX here: