Aggie -'Bama SEC Football battle has already begun verbally
Last updated 5/24/2022 at 7:27pm
Rabid college football fans in the Lone Star State and Alabama are already looking forward to October 8 when Alabama hosts Texas A&M in a Southeastern Conference grudge match at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Crimson Tide is seeking revenge for 41-38 upset victory by the Aggies last Oct. 9 at Kyle Field in College Station.
Although the players on both teams have finished their final exams and are looking forward to some summer fun before the grind begins in two months, the upcoming October battle is already on their minds.
And just to fuel that desire to get back on the gridiron practice field and start knocking heads again, head coaches Nick Saban of Alabama and Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher have been trading barbs with one another about how the new name, image and likeness rule (NIL) influence the recruiting at both schools.
You see, Saban has been the best college recruiter of high school and junior college football talent for the past 15 years or so with the rest of the pack just hoping to have a shot at being No. 2.
But when the dust settled this year after the recruiting and signings ended, Texas A&M had out-recruited Alabama and was declared No. 1 according to 247Sports.com, ousting the Crimson Tide from their usual lofty position and finishing second. It was seven months after college athletes for the first time under NCAA rules were able to benefit financially from NIL.
Saban immediately hollered "foul" and accused Texas A&M of "buying" every player who signed with the Aggies. But he added on ESPNU Radio that he did not accuse anyone of unlawful activities.
"We were second in recruiting last year; A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team. Made a deal for name, image and likeness. We didn't buy one player," Saban was quoted in Friday's Houston Chronicle.
And of course, Aggies Jimbo Fisher didn't just sit on his hands and say "You're right, coach." He blasted Saban, "It's really despicable. Despicable...You're taking shots at 17-year-old kids and their families that they broke state laws. We never bought anybody; no rules were broken.
"It's despicable that a reputable head coach can come out and say this when he doesn't get his way or things don't go his way...The narcissist in him does not allow those things to happen, and it's ridiculous," Fisher bellowed back. "We build him up to be this czar of football. Go dig into his past or talk to anybody who's ever coached with him."
Saban, who was Fisher's boss at LSU when they won a national title in 2003, went on to say last week that he didn't know if Alabama would be able to sustain it's stellar recruiting because more people are doing it, referring to setting up NIL deals before players arrive on campus, the article pointed out.
Alabama promised the 70-year-old Saban a contract worth $84.4 million that runs through 2028 while the 56-year-old Fisher is still looking for his first 10-win season with the Aggies.
There has been plenty of comments about this verbal exchange between Saban and Fisher, but old-timers say it is nothing like the feud that existed between Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer and Texas Longhorn coach Darrell Royal, who accused Switzer of sending oil businessman Lonnie Williams to spy on UT's practice and sending him intel.
On Monday morning's ESPN "First Take" program, host Stephen A Smith said that Saban made a big mistake by naming the school he was referring to because Fisher coached under him. His issue was NIL and the impact it has on recruiting, Stephen A. pointed out.
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