July 20, 2024

Jimbo Fisher needing victory over Alabama for control of SEC West

Texas A&M Aggies Football

Texas A&M Coach watches his players run drills before game against Colorado Saturday September 11, 2021 on Empower Field at Mile High Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

It’s that time of the year again when Jimbo Fisher squares off against his mentor Nick Saban, and there’s plenty to play for.

Whenever the two West Virginia men meet on the gridiron they always dominate the headlines. And rightfully so, considering they both have won at least one Nation Title, and multiple conference crowns. However, this Saturday’s matchup at Kyle Field will have a tremendous impact on the race in the SEC West.

Both teams are in similar situations being 4-1, and 2-0 in conference play. The Aggies and the Crimson Tide are also coming off double-digit wins in week five. Not to mention Texas A&M and Alabama lost in the non-conference to a team that’s currently ranked in the AP top-20.

Fisher has re-established himself in arguably the toughest division in all of College Football. The two coaches have had quarterback issues along the way too. Texas A&M gunslinger Conner Weigman went down with an injury against Auburn. Luckily for Fisher, Max Johnson is filling in nicely during Weigman’s absence. Johnson completed 17 of 28 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the win over Arkansas.

Saban has already played musical chairs with signal-callers Jalen Milroe, Ty Simpson and Tyler Buchner. With both offenses struggling to find an identity, the defenses are taking over. The Aggies currently lead the SEC, and ranks fifth nationally in total defense.The Crimson Tide’s defense is No. 18 in the FBS in yards allowed per game.

That means Saturday’s clash has all of the ingredients for a defensive slugfest. Regardless of the matter, it’s obvious Fisher has bounced back in a major way from his losing campaign in 2022. Everyone counted him out and thought he was washed up. Now Fisher is proving all of his doubters wrong.

The 57-year old was the first of Saban’s proteges to beat him, which happened in 2021. Fisher nearly beat Alabama last year too. It’s no mystery that Texas A&M hasn’t beat Alabama on the road since Johnny Manziel was behind center, and Kevin Sumlin was the coach. Fisher definitely wants to end that drought.

Saban wants to prove that he’s still the coach to beat, and he can seize control of the West by taking down the Aggies. There’s been some growing pains for Saban having to operate with two new Coordinators. Still, the Crimson Tide have National Title aspirations, so they’re on a mission.

Texas A&M could be potentially walking into a snake pit, so Fisher has to have his squad ready for a dogfight. No doubt the winner of this game will be back in the Playoff race, and Fisher needs to make a statement while the rest of the country watches.