Expectations for new Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher are extremely high. That was always going to be the case with his success at Florida State, and the massive deal he just signed.
Fisher signed a 10-year, $75 million deal to leave FSU for Texas A&M. The Aggies fired Kevin Sumlin following a 7-5 season, and third straight 4-4 finish in the SEC.
After his first year with the Aggies, Sumlin and Johnny Manziel led the team to an 11-2 (6-2) record. Manziel won the Heisman trophy that year, the Aggies beat Alabama, and looked like a potential burgeoning power in the conference.
Instead, Texas A&M slid a bit. Sumlin dropped to 9-4 (4-4) in year two, before four-straight five-loss years under Sumlin. The 2017 team finished 7-6 with a Belk Bowl loss, but Sumlin didn't coach in that game.
Clearly A&M wants to be a true national championship contender, based on the move to replace Sumlin with Fisher. Expectations will be extremely high going forward. FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman thinks that Fisher will have a very short honeymoon in College Station if he doesn't have huge early success.
Feldman appeared on WJOX-FM’s The RoundTable in Birmingham this afternoon, and gave Jimbo Fisher a three-year grace period in which he thinks he'll need to get them into the Top 10.
He even says that a College Football Playoff berth may be necessary. Transcription via SEC Country:
“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.”
The Harbaugh comparison is interesting, though he got Michigan into the Top 10 in both polls in year two, is a "Michigan Man," and is still drawing a ton of heat after just three seasons. Fisher doesn't have the established A&M connections, and isn't replacing a coach that drove the program to a place as low as Brady Hoke did the Wolverines.
Fisher won't coach a game for a while, but has had an interesting set of results thus far. He got off to a pretty slow recruiting start, but closed pretty well on National Signing Day. Fisher expects to sign No. 1 or 2 classes in the next few years as well, which would certainly help him live up to the expectations that been hoisted on him.