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Georgia Football

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher Goes After Alabama Coach Nick Saban

May 19, 2022

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ATHENS - Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher won’t take Alabama coach Nick Saban’s phone calls any more. 

Fully triggered by Saban’s comments on Wednesday, Fisher and A&M called a press conference on Thursday morning that was one of the most enlightening looks at the inner world of SEC football.

Behind the scenes those of us who have been around the block for a while have heard all of these things for some time. I’ve actually seen some of the shenanigans in the league in person in the not-too-distant past. 

It happens. 

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That it happens should be understood. I’m not sure it is smart to discuss this with cameras around. That Jimbo and Nick are back and forth like this right now is… well its something else. 

Saban: “A&M bought every player on their team - made a deal for name, image, likeness. We didn't buy one player, all right?”

Jimbo: "Go dig into how (Saban) did his deal. You may find out... a lot of things you don't want to know. We build him up to be the czar of football. Go dig into his past, or anybody's that's ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to find out, what he does and how he does it. It's despicable.”

Saban: “We have players in our state that grew up wanting to come to Alabama that they won’t commit to us unless we say we’re going to give them what somebody else is going to give them.”

Jimbo: “He's the greatest ever, huh? When you've got all the advantages, it's easy. You coach with other people and learn how not to do things. There's a reason, people, I ain't back and worked for (Saban). Don't want to be associated with him.”

To review Jimbo’s comments: 

“All the advantages.”

“Go dig into his past, or anybody's that's ever coached with him.”

“Don't want to be associated with him.”

Then this from Jimbo: “Certain people never follow the rules anyway.”

Yikes. Dude is pissed. 

All of this leads to more questions than anything for me. 

Why is Jimbo so triggered by Saban? Are we to believe that Jimbo doesn’t cheat? He said he doesn’t. He also said he doesn’t lie. Have we found the only coach in college football that doesn’t lie? Was it Jimbo’s idea to have the press conference, or did someone at A&M become furious about what Saban said?

Why did Saban say what he said anyway? Does Saban feel threatened by A&M now? Was he trying to deliver a message to the Bama community that it will fall behind in a way that he can’t dig them out if A&M gets too far out in front? 

I’ve watched Saban over the last 15 years that he’s been in the league - he’s nearly always in control. Very rarely does he say something - particularly in a clinical environment like he was in Wednesday night - he regrets. He said what he said for a reason. It should occur to folks that he may well have gotten the reaction that he wanted, too. 

The question is what that reason is. Is A&M out of control in their back-room spending? College drinking buddy and Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin dropped this nugget in February: "Texas A&M was going to incur a luxury tax in how much they paid for their signing class.”

Couple of things...

1. Is the SEC West done with kayfabe now? Are we just going all in - anything goes? We can say whatever we want now? We are 100% coming off the top rope from here on out?

2. If Texas A&M “paid” for all of the 2022 class so what? Paying for players to go to schools isn’t new in this or any college football league. If Saban could do what Jimbo “did” he would have. Why is Jimbo so mad about this?

None of us should have to stomach listening to morality lessons from college football coaches, and yet here we are. I’m certain Dabo Swinney, the Big Ten and the rest of the holier than thous are ready to tisk tisk the SEC - save it fellas. 

The truth is these two can’t act like this. They are in business together - not that they realize it. That business is the distribution of college football games on television. It is making them rich - and making the places they work for even richer. 

Jimbo-Saban is a part of the circus, yes, but both have gone just a touch too far. Yes, it entertaining. But you don’t want to be so entertaining that you are distructive. And we are close to that right now. 

Greg Sankey is going to have to take time off from destroying the Big 12 and restructuring what’s left of amateur athletics to address middle school fight. A summer ago the big story was Texas and Oklahoma coming into the league. Sankey’s 2022 summer is going to be about making certain there are no sharp objects in the coaches’ meetings later this month. 

In addition, the shrapnel from this is going to head the way of the Georgia Bulldogs and Kirby Smart - the question is when. After all, Jimbo, Kirby and Saban were all at LSU together. Kirby and Saban were together at Alabama. 

So when Jimbo said: “Or anybody's that's ever coached with him” it is hard not to think he was directing that at Kirby - we can’t know that, but it seems like that for sure. 

Since Kirby’s left T Town, the Dawgs and Tide have combined to play in the national title game in all but one season (2019), and have three total titles. They are the power dynamic in the league - and probably nationally - right now. 

If Jimbo is coming for Saban, it seems reasonable for Jimbo or someone else to have knifes out for Kirby, too. The question is if Kirby will get triggered and call a press conference, or just polish his trophy a little more. 

Its what it is.

We all know things happen behind the scenes. How you react to what people say about you says a lot about where you are in that moment. 

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