After further review - Did Texas A&M Athletics Director Scott Woodward do all his homework on Jimbo Fisher
The off season chatter around first year Texas A&M head football coach Jimbo Fisher continues to be one of the hottest story lines of the summer and rightfully so. Fisher - the 75 million dollar man has been tasked with bringing Aggie football "baaaa" - not back but finally delivering for a program that has missed the mark for decades.
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples, who puts out nothing but quality work, recently did it again and wrote a very good piece on Fisher titled, "The Message Behind the Money: How Texas A&M Landed Jimbo Fisher"
And - in this piece it is well documented about what, why when and how Jimbo Fisher got to College Station and how Texas A&M athletics director Scott Woodward aimed high and got his man.
But - if you do a little homework on Florida State, Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher - you start to wonder, just how much homework did Woodward actually do? Did he totally do his homework or simply hire the one coach available who has a National Championship ring?
Well - as always on this site - let the numbers be your guide and you decide.
Let's start right there - only four active coaches have won a National Championship in college football and you know the names. Saban, Dabo, Meyer and Jimbo. But - one of these is not like the rest.
When you examine each coach since 2010 - there are three elite coaches and Jimbo Fisher.
Saban 4-1 in NCC Games
Dabo - 2-1 in NCC Games - one additional CFBPO appearance
Urban - 1 CFB CC - one other appearances (But Urban does have two other National Titles)
Jimbo - I CFB CC - 1 CFB Playoff appearance.
And you have to wonder, had the Seminoles not had Jameis Winston, would they have that one title.
Secondly, lets look at Fisher, the head coach at Florida State. He was the head coach for the Seminoles from 2010-2017 and his results are below.
Keep in mind, Fisher had the most talented roster in the ACC for much of his time in Talahassee - and over an eight year period, the Seminoles average recruiting ranking was 5.13 (well inside our talent profile on this site needed to win a National Title). To be clear, the average four year recruiting ranking since 1998 of the National Championship winner has been 6.5 - Florida State was under that, under Fisher.
But here again is the problem. The Noles only won 78 percent of the time with this talent and in 20 Top 25 games, Fisher won only 57 percent of the time.
Let me say that again - 57 PERCENT OF THE TIME FISHER BEAT A TOP 25 OPPONENT WITH THAT TALENT.
Now let's look at Texas A&M - here is what the Aggies did on the field during the same time frame as Fisher at Florida State.
The Aggies won 64 percent of their games from 2010-17, under Sherman and Sumlin, but were putrid in Top 25 games - winning only 39 percent of the time. Over the same time frame, the Aggies carried the 15th best roster talent on average into a football game - and while it was 10 slots behind Florida State, it was still considered above average talent.
NOTE: Since 2002, Texas A&M has a recruiting class average of 17.25 Nationally
So a couple things here to unpack when looking and combining these two in Fisher and A&M.
First - Fisher we know has to improve the talent profile of Texas A&M and as we wrote, so far he is doing that with the Aggies, currently ranked 2nd in the country via 247 sports. The highest the Aggies have finished in recruiting since 2002 is 5th in 2014.
Secondly it is to note Fishers record in Top 25 ball games and project that to College Station.
With Top five talent at Florida State, he only won those ball games 57 percent of the time. At Texas A&M, he starts off with a less talented roster and will likely play more Top 25 games.
From 2010 to 2017, the Aggies played 18 more Top 25, opponents, almost doubling up Florida State in that category. If you project Fisher's 57 percent over the same number of games, that means he would finish 22-16 over the next eight years.
Compare that to a guy like Saban, Meyer or Dabo and again it's not even close.
You have to beg the question of if Jimbo couldn't win more than 57 percent of Top 25 games with the 5th best roster talent in the country - how can he best that at a place that will play double the amount of Top 25 games?
I am sure Scott Woodward is a super sharp guy and no doubt a rich one; but when you dive into the numbers - you have to ask the question; did Woodward make the smart and right hire or did he go all in on the big splash?
Our numbers say the second; and yes we will watch this all unfold; but for Fisher to be back in the elite coaching chatter he has to do better than 57 percent in T25 match-ups and if he couldn't do it with the fifth best roster talent over eight years - then Woodward may have just thrown his money away and again left Aggie fans scratching their heads about their football program.
Only time will tell -