People Don’t Hate Jimbo. They Hate Texas A&M Football.

Sep 17, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher during the game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Miami Hurricanes at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher during the game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Miami Hurricanes at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Up until this point, the talking points—outside of, perhaps, the offseason before 2020 where people could still say that the Aggies had yet to defeat a top 5 team under Jimbo or notch a top 4 finish in the AP Poll—had been that Jimbo was too good for this job; that he would certainly leave when the opportunity arose. Now, when hot seat talk begins to swirl, these same people are all too happy to declare that he just can’t get it done there. No longer is it a problem with the just the institution, it’s now a problem with Jimbo; but importantly, a problem with Jimbo and therefore the institution as well, somehow. Of course he’d fail there, people say—that’s just not a place where you can win!

There is a catharsis that comes with having your priors confirmed, even if it only happens in your own mind. If reality is in tension with those priors, it leads to the unpleasant experience of cognitive dissonance—which is why people will all too often ignore those realities and believe what they want to believe, regardless of the facts. It confused people when Fisher left FSU for Texas A&M football, because they were convinced of a rigid hierarchy of college football programs, mostly invented by public perception, that no one in their right mind would controvert; it’s just the way things are, after all. So they made it about a huge, foolish contract; something so outsized and outlandish that it is the main explicative factor for such a move. It cannot and must not be that Texas A&M football is as good a job as Florida State; rather, it’s that the credulous Aggie brass is getting bilked by a coach who will, at a moment’s notice, throw them away like yesterday’s bread.

Similarly, in 2021, the fact that Jimbo stayed at A&M confused these same people. The explanation this time was that, clearly, he was never actually offered the job! It, again, cannot and must not be that a coach would turn down what is a manifestly better job like LSU; rather, Woodward decided to pass on Fisher—despite consistent reporting otherwise both at the time and afterwards. Something in the same vein happened with the 2022 recruiting class. None of these people could understand how and why these recruits would come to College Station, so the explanation was that the Aggies, of course, bought them all. The question of why the Ags didn’t do something similar the following year goes unaddressed, as it must under this presumption—for there is no logical explanation for that fact if you operate in this fantasy world where Texas A&M football is purchasing five stars like candy bars at a convenience store.

The mental exhaustion required for such a person to try and shift what are apparently bedrock presuppositions regarding the sport is ostensibly too much to bear, so they will concoct any narrative possible to prevent having to do so. Entailed in those bedrock presuppositions is something revealed over and over in the course of the last few years: a naked contempt for Texas A&M football. This occurs in several different ways, but it is evident that the general college football public—from default photo Twitter profile guy all the way up to actual reporters in positions of influence—have an attitude towards the Aggies somewhere between distaste and obsessive hatred. Here’s a quick example:

This is one of the most brain dead opinions I’ve seen a college football reporter share on the sport. It came in the waning moments of a game where the Aggie defense was holding what has proven to be a dominant Miami rushing attack to their lowest output of the year, both by total yardage and yards per carry. Since that point, the Aggie front has racked up 25 sacks and 57 tackles for loss in five games. I feel confident in saying this is not an opinion that would have been put forth about any other school, were they in the same position as Texas A&M football.