Jimbo Fisher‘s tenure at Texas A&M began with a fake national championship trophy created by the school, with the year waiting to be filled in. After his best year in College Station yet, he’s not ducking from those lofty expectations.
The Aggies finished 9-1 in 2020, beating North Carolina in the Orange Bowl 41-27. The team’s only loss came to eventual national champion Alabama, though it was definitive enough to keep them out of the four team College Football Playoff field: 52-24.
They’d wind up finishing No. 4 in both the AP and Coaches Poll. For Fisher, that means one thing: there are three spots to climb to finally reach the ultimate goal laid out three years ago when he left Florida State.
“Well, it is, we want to be in rare air,” Fisher said during the Dallas A&M Club’s Coaches Night, after asking if last season’s success in spite of COVID was due to a strong program culture. “We’re happy, we had a great year, we finished fourth, that’s just three spots too low.”
Jimbo Fisher: “We finished 4th; that’s just three spots too low.” pic.twitter.com/bh2IkPCpvC
— TexAgs (@TexAgs) May 13, 2021
Even with sights on a national title, that No. 4 finish represents a great leap forward for a program that, fair or unfair, already had some questions popping up.
After a solid first year at A&M, leading the Aggies to a 9-4 season and No. 16 finish in the polls after a blowout Gator Bowl win over NC State, the team finished unranked in 2019. The Aggies were 8-5, with a 4-4 SEC record, though they did end on a high note with a Texas Bowl victory over former Big 12 rival Oklahoma State.
We’ll see what kind of progress can be made in 2021 with a few key departures, headlined by quarterback Kellen Mond. The team may not be ready to challenge Alabama just yet, but Jimbo Fisher probably quelled the worries of the least patient segments of the Texas A&M fan base a bit.