Rhetoric Surrounding Texas A&M Football Reveals Motives
Earlier last month, I wrote a piece about the way people have been talking about Jimbo and Texas A&M football. The main thesis of that piece is this: despite everything you see about the way things were under Jimbo—the rhetoric of him underachieving, that the Aggies deserve better and it’s just the coach getting in the way, what have you—this is not why other college football fans and media want him dismissed. The reason they want him dismissed is so that they can declare that Texas A&M football has failed. Like vultures circling a dying animal, they could sense that the end was near—and they rejoiced. Not because of animus against the man, but against the program. I feel as though I have in recent days been clearly vindicated in that thesis. They’re already calling Jimbo’s firing “the biggest Aggie joke of all time.” You could at least have tried to hide it, a little bit.
The news of Jimbo’s firing, at the time of writing, is just over one day old. It’s not even been 48 hours, yet. It’s still fresh—and yet the rhetorical turn has already happened. Here’s what I’ve seen, more or less: “You Aggies need to be realistic with this hire. Historically, you have no record of winning anything significant. Know your place, and lower your expectations.” These are all phrases I’ve seen repeated often. A name like Dan Lanning gets floated, and what do you see? “Why would he leave Oregon for a place you can’t win at?” The naysayers and detractors consider this a decisive blow. Maybe this is part of why I wanted Jimbo so badly to end up being the guy: because there was so much of this going around. I wanted him to prove them wrong, about himself and the program. But he wasn’t the guy to take Texas A&M football to the promised land, and so he had to be let go.
But I want to know this. I want to hear an answer from the scoffers to this question: why, exactly, should Texas A&M football fans lower their expectations? Why is it that this is a place that people can’t win? You have top five facilities, budget, institutional commitment, recruiting… all of these have been proven. So why, then, is it that you simply “can’t win” here? Because it hasn’t happened yet? That’s a foolish way to judge things. You tell me which is the loser mentality: committing as many resources as possible to building up your program in order to compete for championships, or leaning on the fact that “it’s happened before!” to do so. There are plenty of people sitting around in Lincoln, Nebraska; Miami, Florida; and Austin, Texas who have absolutely zero to show in modern college football for their vaunted histories. Who’s the real loser: the guy who is putting his money where his mouth is, committed to winning at the highest level, or the guy who leans on what is, in a sport populated by 18-22-year-olds, practically ancient history in order to make his case for why he should be included?
Give your love to the latter all you want. I’m putting my money on the former. I’m riding with Texas A&M football.