Why Texas A&M’s Road to ‘Greatness’ Crosses Alabama
Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said something that I found interesting a few weeks ago. He was talking about the Aggies’ win over New Mexico, but he could have talked about the preparation for Saturday’s game against Alabama.
“How to play football and how to play winning football at a high level are two different things. “
In this age of college football, you can add a third element to this statement:
“And a road to a national title goes through Alabama.”
To be a great team, to win a national championship, the path goes through Alabama. It sounds hyperbolic, naturally. But at this time, it is actually true.
The Aggies are never going to get what they want, whether it’s an SEC Championship or a College Football Playoff Championship, without beating Alabama (and, yes, I’m fully aware that the Aggies have beaten Alabama once since. that they joined the SEC).
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Here is the proof.
During the 2009 season, Alabama reached the top of the mountain, beating Texas in the National Championship game. It was the first Crimson Tide title since the Gene Stallings era and the validation of coach Nick Saban’s hiring away from the Miami Dolphins.
Since then, Alabama has won five more domestic titles, both in the BCS format and in the College Football Playoff format. But, Alabama has also lost games – 15 of them, in fact. As mentioned, the Aggies can claim one of those wins, in 2012. In four seasons, the Crimson Tide overcame at least one loss to claim a national title. In fact, Alabama’s undefeated national title a season ago was his first since 2009.
But that leaves six more seasons without a national title. So what happened?
Well, in 2010 Auburn won the national title. The Tigers had to beat Alabama to get out of SEC West.
In 2014, Alabama overcame a loss to enter the PSC. But Ohio State beat the Tide in the semifinals and the Buckeyes won the national title a week later.
In 2016 and 2018, Alabama were undefeated before meeting Clemson in the national title game, and the Tigers won each of those games.
Then in 2019, Alabama lost two games, one to LSU, and the Tigers won the national title with Joe Burrow as quarterback (point out the cigar-smoking meme).
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As with the rules, there are always exceptions, and there is, and it’s interesting for Aggie fans. That was in 2013. Alabama missed the last BCS national title game, losing to Auburn in the Iron Bowl (see ‘Kick Six’ video) and not making it to the SEC Championship game. The Tigers capitalized on the victory, winning the SEC Championship game and then qualifying for the domestic title game. The opponent of the Tigers?
Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles won this match.
Since Alabama entered this race, Florida State is the ONLY program and Fisher is the ONLY coach to win a national title and NOT have to beat Alabama to do so. Everyone else’s path has forced them to follow the path of the best college football program. And they met at the time.
Fisher no longer has the luxury of luck. The Aggies took him to College Station to meet THAT moment. As long as he’s at Texas A&M, his path will take him and his Aggies through Alabama. The Aggies must, at some point, beat Alabama to reach the top. Especially as long as Saban is a coach.
“He (Saban) did a great job and he built a great culture there,” Fisher said Monday. “They understand how to win, they understand how to do these things and they build it in there.”
So Fisher is right.
“How to play football and how to play football winning at a high level are two different things. “
And Alabama is the only gateway to get there.
Of course, that would help if the Aggies hadn’t already lost two games. But, well, put this aside for next year, right? Because Alabama is not going anywhere.
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