Fisher Earns Top 5 Grade in SDS SEC Coach's Ranking

Cole Thompson

COLLEGE STATION - The Southeastern Conference is known for its enticing offers to some of the nation's top coaches. Each season, the SEC continues to dominate in the rankings due to its success in recruiting and against opponents, leading to eventual titles for the conference.

Each season, the coaches found in the south will earn a yearly ranking on their success from the season before. Some will see growth while others could begin to feel their seat begin to warm up. For Texas A&M, Jimbo Fisher could be trending in that direction if the team struggles to start the decade.

According to Saturday Down South's end of the year rankings, Fisher still is considered one of the top coaches in the SEC. Ranking third among members in the SEC West, the hope is for the Aggies head coach to take the next leap with his squad. Fifth overall, this could be the start of something promising, or the beginning to a struggling concern moving forward.

Fisher isn’t an easy guy to rank. Some look at the ring and say that automatically makes him a top 3-5 coach in America. I’m not there with Fisher," SDS's Connor O'Gara wrote. "Don’t get me wrong. It helps, but I have a hard time considering him one of the conference’s top 2-3 coaches with those aforementioned past 3 years. He hasn’t taken A&M to SEC contender-level yet. I’m not saying that makes him a subpar coach, but it wasn’t long ago that we were having a debate about whether Fisher or Dan Mullen would have significant success first. Fisher’s new goal in Year 3 should be to have a year as successful as either season Mullen had so far."

The Aggies won every game they were predicted to win in 2019. They also nearly picked up a pair of victories against two top 10 opponents in Auburn (then-No.8) and Georgia (then-No.4). Poor quarterback play from Kellen Mond and a struggling offensive line led to a 7-5 season down in Aggieland, leading to questions from the fan base on Fisher's success.

The 2020 season should be a more relaxed time for the Aggies to look like contenders in Year 3 of the Fisher era. A&M will swap out Clemson with Colorado and replace a top-five Georgia with a struggling Vanderbilt. The team's out of conference schedule should play in their favor with games against North Texas, Abilene Christian and Fresno State.

The Aggies could pull a similar rise like the LSU turnaround for the start of the new decade. A veteran roster is expected to return, particularly on the defensive side of the ball for Mike Elko. The team lost five full-time starters to either the draft or graduation, but could replace the production at wide receiver with a young, talented recruiting class for the 2020 roster.

All things will point to Mond leading the charge for a successful season in College Station. After a promising 2018 campaign, the junior quarterback struggled to balance consistent play away from Kyle Field. With road trips to Auburn, Columbia, Starkville and Tuscaloosa, that could be a deal-breaker for A&M to make the jump to a legitimate contender in the SEC.

The Aggies are expected to return 25-plus seniors to their roster for the start of the new decade.