As college football soon returns to what it once was, The Sporting News ranked all 130 Football Subdivision coaches using a six-person panel that voted on the top-25.
Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher was ranked No. 5. He moves up five spots from No. 10 from last season's list following a 9-1 record and the highest AP ranking for the program since 1939.
Fisher finished only behind Alabama's Nick Saban, Clemson's Dabo Swinney, Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley, and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly. Behind him was Ohio State's Ryan Day.
TSN cites Fisher bringing a winning culture to Aggieland as part of his success:
"Fisher pushed the Aggies to the edge of the College Football Playoff conversation last season, and he's assembling a roster that should be able to compete for a national championship. The Alabama hurdle remains, but Fisher has built that culture with three straight bowl wins and progressive recruiting classes in talent-rich Texas. He's back in the top five as a result."
The "Alabama hurdle" is something that just about every other college coach struggles with. In the history of the sport, there hasn't been a former assistant under his direction to take down the master.
Fisher served as the LSU offensive coordinator under Saban during the Tigers' national championship run in 2003.
Only a handful of coaches in the last decade have beaten Saban. Former Auburn coach Gus Malzahn did it twice in the regular season. Swinney has split four playoff games with Saban and Alabama in the past seven seasons.
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The week 3 matchup at Kyle Field is the third non-conference game and might be the easiest on the schedule.
But beating Saban and Alabama shouldn't take anything away from what Fisher has done as a head coach, first at Florida State and now at Texas A&M.
He took over two programs that were on the decline and by year three at each stop, he had both in the top ten at the end of the season.
The logical next step for the Aggies is the same as it was for the Seminoles under Fisher. He won a national title with Florida State in just his fourth season as head coach.
It appears Texas A&M will be well equipped to make a run at their first national title since 1939. They likely start the season ranked top five nationally per most preseason outlets, including the coaches and AP poll.
If not top-five, certainly just outside of it.
A&M is set to bring back most of its roster, an intact coaching staff, and another top 10 recruiting class. Add a favorable early-season schedule to the mix, the recipe is there for Fisher and the Aggies to contend in the College Football Playoff in 2021.
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