I’m not trying to say that the Aggies are just specially hated for no reason. I believe people have their reasons, but I think they go mostly unexamined. It’s a general attitude of “you are not as good as you think you are, and you will get your comeuppance.” Most fans of other schools in the state and region have articulated some form of this (“they think they’re like Georgia and Alabama, but they’re not!”) with enough frequency for it to seep into the collective consciousness of fans across the sport as part of the Aggies’ reputation.
Texas A&M football fans and graduates are indeed fiercely proud of their school, and acknowledge the fact that it is an institution with the natural advantages necessary to join the sport’s elite; yet they are also particularly self-effacing, never believing that something good will really happen for their team. That’s where the term Battered Aggie Syndrome comes from! Far from arrogance, this is a fanbase that, in my experience, is far too ready to forecast woes for their team and programs; they anticipate frustration and failure rather than blindly predicting dominance out of a misplaced sense of favor.
But that’s not the narrative people carry about the Aggies. The narrative they do carry is that Texas A&M is an institution with an outsized ego that is constantly reminded of who they really are when they fail. And it is this notion that explains the lion’s share of the vitriol for Jimbo now: because they can identify his failure with that of Texas A&M football in itself. His issues have become metonyms for the identity of the institution in these people’s minds: given every advantage, but unable to capitalize. This is what they want to see; this is the catharsis: not that Jimbo fails, but that Texas A&M fails.
Ultimately, though, this is an incoherent idea. If Jimbo fails to realize the potential of this program, it is not for lack of institutional support. The Aggie brass have not only met every request that Fisher has brought, whether for coaches, facilities, or anything else, but they’ve also exercised no small measure of patience during his tenure. Other schools fire coaches for losing recruits, for example; A&M’s leadership stuck by Jimbo during a 5-7 record in his fifth season. It is clear that this is a program that can be recruited to at an elite level. What else is needed for a place to be classified as an elite job? Institutional and financial support to meet every possible need, yet those providing that support not meddling in the program; elite recruiting ability; location in a talent-rich state; competition in the best conference in the nation; the list goes on.
If Jimbo fails, it’s not because of Texas A&M. That won’t stop the majority of people from trying to drag the Aggies over the coals, but it’s a fact. The Aggies offer everything a coach could want and are everything a college football program should be—rich with traditions, personality, and fervent support from the fans. There’s nothing wrong with Texas A&M—but people still hate them. And at this point, I don’t know if that will ever change.