Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M Crack The “Sabanci Code”| Parity Invades CFB

Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State haven't been dominating programs as in past seasons. The COVID-inspired loosening of transfer rules, and NIL deals are helping college programs close the recruiting gap on these juggernauts.

Not many thought it was possible, except maybe Jimbo Fisher and his Texas A&M Aggies. On Saturday in front of a raucous crowd (107,000) at Kyle Field in College Station, a former Saban assistant became the first former Saban assistant to defeat the mentor in 25 tries. 

Nick Saban’s 24-Game Win Streak Over Former Assistants Stopped

That wasn’t the only record that came crashing down like somebody doing the crate challenge. Alabama’s 19-game winning streak was snapped and their 100-game winning streak over unranked opponents also went up in smoke when Aggies kicker Seth Small hit the game-winning 28-yard field goal as time expired. 

The field was then stormed by over 100K fans yelling “Gig ’em.”

The Aggies deserved to win, as they played with no fear and with the desperation of a squad that had lost its previous two games to Arkansas and Mississippi State. Fisher, the former Florida State coach, called a brilliant game. His quarterback Zach Calzada played the game of his life. But folks need to relax a bit.

The unranked Aggies were actually ranked 6th in the nation in the preseason AP Poll but dropped games after losing starting QB King Haynes. 

Alabama helped them with miscues, questionable play calling, lack of focus and intensity. There’s plenty of blame to go around in this one, and it begins with Nick Saban, as his guys were uncharacteristically unprepared. Saban’s defense also underperformed. The Aggies took what they wanted just about all afternoon.

Coming into this college football season, although Alabama was ranked No.1, it wasn’t as if they were going to run away with it. The Shadow League wrote an article a few weeks ago forewarning the loss and the parity that has seemed to engulf college football. 

CFB Parity Is A Real Thing 

Is Parity Finally Invading College Football?| The Transfer Portal & NIL Cash Has Closed The Gap

With the transfer portal bursting with players due to loosened rules in the aftermath of the COVID-19 sports shutdown, there was massive movement of players and an obvious shift in power amongg certain teams across the country. Players being able to transfer and play right away also encouraged movement of quality players who sought the opportunity to play right away at other schools. 

You can’t deny it. The Iowa Hawkeyes are currently ranked No. 2 in the country. Cincinnati’s No. 3 ranking is the school’s highest ever. Couple that with the NIL allowing players to make money off their name, image and likeness, and this parity trend should continue as who you are becomes more important than where you play. 

With the 2020 season not counting against anyone’s eligibility, a lot of players returned this season, and some may even return again next year.

This was a landmark win for Texas A&M, which had lost eight straight to Alabama after upsetting them in their first year (2012) in the SEC behind former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and rising head coach Kevin Sumlin. 

The loss hasn’t totally destroyed Bama’s chances. The program only dropped to No. 5 in both the Coaches and AP polls. All the goals they had entering this season are still in play. But now they have no margin for error and must win out if they wanna be a part of the CFP for the seventh time in its eight-year existence. 

If there was ever such a thing as a good loss this is it. Don’t forget that Nick Saban has won six national championships at Alabama and seven overall, and he’s only gone unblemished twice.

Don’t count out the Crimson Tide just yet, they’ll be around in the end.