Fisher, Saban meet again as No. 22 Aggies No. 1 Alabama

Texas A&M committed $75 million to Jimbo Fisher this offseason to win big games. No coach has won more big games than Alabama’s Nick Saban.

From the Aggies’ view, the games don’t get any bigger than Saturday’s Southeastern Conference matchup on the road pitting 22nd-ranked Texas A&M and the No. 1 Crimson Tide.

“Alabama has an outstanding team as we all know, defending national champions and all that,” Fisher said this week. “They’re playing outstanding this year. [It’s] going to take three phases — offense, defense, special teams. They’re sound and they’re dynamic.”

Sep 2, 2017; Atlanta: Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban (right) talks with then-Florida State Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher prior to the 2017 Kickoff Game. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

That pretty much sums up the season so far for Alabama (3-0, 1-0 SEC), which has outscored its opponents 170-28 and is the nation’s 14th-ranked offensive team. Alabama is averaging more than 56 points per game.

But the No. 22 Aggies (2-1, 0-0 SEC) can put up the points, too.

Sophomore quarterback Kellen Mond comes into the game with 824 passing yards and six touchdown passes in leading an offense that averages 596.3 yards a game – fifth-best in the country.

“I think it’s important that our players understand that we’re playing a really good team this week in Texas A&M,” Saban said. “Jimbo’s done a really good job there. They’ve got really good players in a lot of positions on both sides of the ball and special teams. Obviously, that was pretty much the indication when they played Clemson [a 28-26 loss in Week 2]. Probably had, arguably, a lot of opportunities to win the game and at the end, it didn’t really work out for them.
“They’re fifth in the country in total offense. Their quarterback is playing really, really well. … They’ve got great balance.”

This game pits two of the four active NCAA coaches to have won a national championship – Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney are the others – and matches mentor vs. protege.

Fisher served as offensive coordinator on Saban’s staff at LSU from 2000-04. Several assistants on the Saban coaching tree have gone on to lead their own teams, and Saban is 12-0 against them.

Last season, Alabama beat Fisher’s then-No. 3 Seminoles in the season opener and Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs in the national title game.
Fisher is aware of all the teacher dominating his students. Fisher doesn’t seem intimidated by the Crimson Tide. They are just one of the many teams in the conference the Aggies will have beat to achieve their goal of becoming, well, Alabama.

“You’ve got to beat everybody in this conference,” Fisher said. “I was in this conference for 13 years at Auburn and LSU. If you get caught up in one [program], there’s about three more that will tear both legs and an arm off. You can’t get into that.”

–Field Level Media

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