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Beyond the Fort: It’s getting hot in College Station

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At least under Jimbo’s seat.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl - Oklahoma State v Texas A&M Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Oh Texas A&M.

I know you didn’t expect things to be this way. Not with the massive financial investment you made. Not with the top tier recruiting footprint you sit on. Not with your bitter rival experiencing the down side of an up and down history that rivals your own.

But, here we are... again.

Yes friends, not even a delayed start to the season could slow down the Aggie roller coaster — it’s October and their season is all but over, again.

There’s no shame in losing to Alabama... but getting wiped 52-24 in Jimbo’s third year at the helm of a program and with tens of millions of dollars remaining on his contract... that has to sting. Sure, it’s the MIGHTY SEC, but if Fisher doesn’t beat Florida this weekend, it could be go time — or gone — for Jimbo in Aggieland.

Fisher’s Texas A&M teams are a shadow of what he had at FSU. He’s 18-10 in College Station, and 10-8 in SEC games. Sumlin, by comparison, was 15-13 in his last 18 games, and 8-10 in the SEC.

Fisher’s Aggies teams are 3-8 vs. ranked teams, 6-7 vs. the SEC West and 1-6 vs. West heavyweights Alabama, LSU and Auburn. The only win among that group was a 74-72 overtime gift over LSU (a game LSU should have won in regulation were it not for a terrible call).

More damning: without the two supernova seasons of Jameis Winston in 2013-14, Fisher’s FSU and Texas A&M teams are 29-21 vs. Power 5 teams. And this is a $75 million coach ($85 million when Sumlin’s buyout is factored in)?

While the Aggies’ season drones on, the North Dakota State Bison have seen theirs come and go faster than any in history. NDSU, one of the greatest FCS programs in history, is now 32-0 over the last three seasons... and finishes 1-0 in 2020. That’s right: the Bison played one game this year, against UCA, and shut it down.

That was the plan all along, though; after NDSU cancelled their football season, the Bison scheduled a single game, against Central Arkansas, to give star quarterback Trey Lance one last chance to impress ahead of next year’s NFL Draft.

“So, the stage was set. North Dakota State had a showcase game for Lance, and a herd of NFL scouts flocked to Fargo. Reports indicate that 28 teams sent personnel to watch Lance—twenty eight, out of the 32 teams in the league.”

Will Lance go first overall next spring? His performance last Saturday wasn’t the best of his career, but it may be enough to get the right team interested. Oh, one other note of interest? In case you’ve forgotten, NDSU is the former home of the current coach of TCU’s next opponent — Chris Klieman.

While NDSU’s season might be the shortest of the 2020 season, their opponent for that single game likely lays claim to the weirdest: UCA.

The Bearcats found themselves without a conference schedule so went about testing the theory of “any team any time anywhere” — and did so in a way that will likely never be seen again.

Give credit to UCA players, coaches, and support staff — despite an insane schedule and a ton of travel, they have yet to have to cancel or postpone a game. They are testing their players weekly, and so far, have been able to keep playing.

They opened the season for both the FCS (against Austin-Peay) and the FBS (at UAB). They’ve played Missouri State twice and NDSU once — two of the three scheduled games for the former and the only of the latter — and hope to get through Arkansas State, Eastern Kentucky twice, DII Missouri Western, and nationally ranked Louisiana Lafayette. Oh, and they can still add a game in December.

So far, it’s been a boon for the program and the players, according to AD Brad Teague. “I’m hopeful, come December, that we can look back and see that it was still the right decision. I think it will be,” he said. “The FCS doesn’t get a lot of spotlight. People have reached out and are very intrigued with our story and situation. Our football coach has been on a lot of programs. Our coach was on [The Paul Finebaum Show]. It’s really elevated our brand. It’s been fun.”