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Texas A&M’s upset loss shows who Jimbo Fisher has become as a coach

Our weekly gameday guide starts with the recent clunkers from the former FSU coach.
Jimbo Fisher has produced a head-scratching performance in almost every year since winning it all at Florida State.
Jimbo Fisher has produced a head-scratching performance in almost every year since winning it all at Florida State. [ CARMEN MANDATO | Getty Images North America ]
Published Sep. 16

Just because Texas A&M’s loss to Appalachian State was an upset doesn’t mean it was a shock. It shouldn’t have been, given coach Jimbo Fisher’s recent history.

Since guiding Florida State to the 2013 national championship, Fisher’s teams have delivered a clunker almost every season:

Related: AP top 25: How far did we drop the Florida Gators and Jimbo Fisher?

2014 FSU: There was no shame in losing to Oregon in the Rose Bowl, but a 39-point blowout was bad.

2015 FSU: A blocked kick gave FSU a last-second loss at a Georgia Tech team that finished 3-9.

2016 FSU: The 63-20 loss at Louisville is the most shocking result I’ve ever covered.

2017 FSU: A 35-3 defeat at Boston College was one of the lowest points in a dreadful season.

2018 Texas A&M: The Aggies blew a 10-7 halftime lead in a 15-point loss to eight-win Mississippi State.

2019 Texas A&M: A 50-7 loss to No. 1 LSU was the Aggies’ fifth defeat of the season.

2020 Texas A&M: Only blemish was a 52-24 loss to a great Alabama team.

2021 Texas A&M: Season ended with a loss to a bad LSU team and its lame-duck coach.

2022 Texas A&M: The Aggies ran only 38 plays in a home loss to Appalachian State.

Coaching carousel rewind

Dan Mullen didn't work out at Florida, but he was still one of the most successful hires of the 2017-18 coaching carousel.
Dan Mullen didn't work out at Florida, but he was still one of the most successful hires of the 2017-18 coaching carousel. [ Times ]

A look back at the 2017-18 coaching carousel:

Scott Frost: Rumored to be in the mix at Florida, Frost instead jumped from UCF to Nebraska. He was fired Sunday with a 16-31 record.

Chip Kelly: He chose UCLA over the Gators and is 20-25 so far. But Kelly’s Bruins are 2-0 this year and should be 3-0 after hosting South Alabama on Saturday.

Dan Mullen: He led Florida to an SEC title game but was fired near the end of his fourth season.

Jimbo Fisher: His bank account is richer after leaving FSU for Texas A&M, but his Aggies look headed for a fourth season with at least four losses.

Willie Taggart: The former USF coach lasted 21 games at FSU. He’s 12-12 at Florida Atlantic and will try to knock off former rival UCF this weekend.

Mario Cristobal: Promoted at Oregon after Taggart left, Cristobal won a pair of Pac-12 titles before taking over Miami.

Billy Napier: He parlayed a 40-12 record at Louisiana into the Gators job.

Viewing guide

Former UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel will lead the Sooners against Nebraska in a once-storied rivalry.
Former UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel will lead the Sooners against Nebraska in a once-storied rivalry. [ SUE OGROCKI | AP ]

Lamest time window: Early. Thanks, Scott Frost.

Noon: Even without the questions about Frost’s future, No. 6 Oklahoma at Nebraska (Fox) is still the marquee game because it’s the first decent opponent for the Sooners and quarterback Dillon Gabriel (the former UCF star).

3:30: It’s too early to talk playoff, but No. 12 BYU would bolster its chances by beating No. 25 Oregon (Fox) on the road.

5: Will Hugh Freeze’s Liberty give No. 19 Wake Forest a test (ACC Network)?

6: Mississippi State has quietly become a top-20 team in advanced metrics and will probably be ranked with a win at LSU (ESPN).

7: North Carolina State’s Devin Leary will try to improve to 15-3 as the starting quarterback when the No. 16 Wolfpack hosts Texas Tech (ESPN2).

7:30: Unless USF can find a way to hang with the No. 18 Gators (SEC Network), watch No. 11 Michigan State try to win at better-than-expected Washington (ABC).

Related: Inside the 20-year relationship between Florida Gators’ Billy Napier and USF’s Jeff Scott

8: If No. 21 Texas is close to back, the Longhorns will have no problem against the University of Texas San Antonio (Longhorn Network).

9: Jimbo Fisher will try to improve to 8-1 against No. 13 Miami with a win for No. 24 Texas A&M (ESPN).

10:30: Pac-12 After Dark gives us a high-level quarterback matchup between No. 7 USC’s Caleb Williams and Jake Haener of Fresno State (Fox).

Knights-Owls

Isaiah Bowser is a player to watch in the UCF-Florida Atlantic game.
Isaiah Bowser is a player to watch in the UCF-Florida Atlantic game. [ PHELAN M. EBENHACK | AP ]

UCF’s trip to Florida Atlantic will hinge on the run game. The Knights have a top-10 rushing offense (252.5 yards per game), while the Owls’ Larry McCammon ranks fourth nationally with 303 yards. If UCF dominates the ground, the Knights will beat Taggart for the third time in their five career meetings.

Local of the week

Washington starter Michael Penix Jr. went from Tampa Bay Tech to Indiana to the Huskies.
Washington starter Michael Penix Jr. went from Tampa Bay Tech to Indiana to the Huskies. [ Times (2017) ]

Washington quarterback Michael Penix (Tampa Bay Tech)

After having only five 300-yard games at Indiana, Penix has hit that mark in both of his first two starts with the Huskies. He’ll have a hard time repeating the performance against a Spartans defense that leads the nation with 12 sacks.

Related: What’s the best Florida college football game this season?

‘GameDay’ breakdown

Appalachian State quarterback Chase Brice had a flash of success at Clemson before leading the Mountaineers to a win over Texas A&M.
Appalachian State quarterback Chase Brice had a flash of success at Clemson before leading the Mountaineers to a win over Texas A&M. [ SAM CRAFT | AP ]

The Appalachian State-Troy site is a celebration of the Mountaineers. Since moving to Division I-A in 2014, only Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Georgia have won more games than the Mountaineers (81). Two names to know: quarterback Chase Brice rallied Clemson against Syracuse in 2018 to save the Tigers’ national title run, and receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey played for the Seminoles and Bucs before serving as an assistant at USF and FSU.

Orange-out

Auburn coach Bryan Harsin could really use a win over No. 22 Penn State.
Auburn coach Bryan Harsin could really use a win over No. 22 Penn State. [ BUTCH DILL | AP ]

It’s a shame Auburn and No. 22 Penn State aren’t great, because a Big Ten team playing at Jordan-Hare Stadium for the first time ever should be a great environment with an all-orange crowd. An Auburn win wouldn’t eliminate the pressure for already-embattled coach Bryan Harsin, but it wouldn’t hurt.

Audible

“I don’t forget things, so I remember when these guys beat us.” — Alabama coach Nick Saban on this week’s opponent, Louisiana Monroe. The Warhawks beat the Crimson Tide 21-14 during Saban’s first season. Don’t expect a repeat this weekend.

By the numbers: Week 3

A motorcycle crash led to Bobby Petrino's undoing at Arkansas.
A motorcycle crash led to Bobby Petrino's undoing at Arkansas. [ GARETH PATTERSON | AP ]

10 — Years since Arkansas fired Bobby Petrino because of an improper relationship with a staffer (made public because of an infamous motorcycle crash). Petrino will be back in Fayetteville this weekend to lead Missouri State against the Razorbacks

0 — Touchdown passes by USF and Florida. Only five other teams in the country haven’t yet thrown one

265 — Rushing yards by Marshall’s Khalan Laborn through two games

297 — Rushing yards Laborn had as a five-star recruit in three years at Florida State

1,839 — Combined wins for Nebraska and Oklahoma, who both rank in the top eight in Division I-A history

2009 — The last time Kansas was 3-0, a feat it can accomplish by beating Houston

• • •

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