After a two-game skid early in the season, the Texas A&M football team did the only thing that could have saved their season when they took down the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. This was a historic win for many reasons, but most notably, it made Jimbo Fisher the first former Nick Saban assistant to beat the Tide head coach.
And he did it on his birthday.
But that wasn’t the only positive attached to this win. The Aggies also snuck their way back into the AP Top-25, becoming the third-highest-ranked two-loss team in the country, trailing Arkansas and Florida in the rankings.
The win keeps A&M relevant for now, with a somewhat tumultuous schedule still ahead of Fisher’s squad. That said, this game also holds vital long-term implications.
The Texas A&M football team knows the formula to beat Alabama, which will help next season
The bad news here is that the Texas A&M football team chose to beat Alabama in a year where they were out of the College Football Playoff race at the midpoint of the season. Had they beat the Tide last season, they would have appeared in the SEC Championship game and likely earned a bid to the playoff.
Still, there is nothing but positives that come along with this win.
For starters, it wasn’t a fluke win — outside of a stretch late in the game that saw the Tide take a lead, the Aggies were in total control of this contest. Again, some questionable late-game defense smudged the stats a bit, but A&M dominated ‘Bama in the first half, plus some.
The final stat line shows a 143-yard advantage in total offense to the Tide. That said, this was more of a matter of possession — Texas A&M led the Tide in yards per play, with 6.53 to ‘Bama’s 6.36.
Part of what helped give A&M separation was also their ability to lead the game’s turnover margin, where the Aggies finished with a 2-1 advantage. This was the first game of the season that saw Jimbo Fisher’s team win the turnover battle. Not a great stat, but one that the Texas Aggies chose the right time to step up in.
What all of this means for the future is simple — Texas A&M is the biggest threat to Alabama in the SEC. Even in previous conference losses, the Tide have always looked dominant. That wasn’t the case this time, and it’s not easy for a coach who doesn’t lose very frequently to figure out why a team beat him.
The best part about this is that Alabama no longer seems like an insurmountable hurdle on the season. Rather than facing a coach who has never lost to a former assistant, Jimbo Fisher will be facing a coach that he beat in the previous matchup.
Expect Fisher to be in Saban’s head for another year until these two teams clash again.