There are countless dead zones in the college football offseason, plummeting troughs of inactivity that must be plumbed and filled with desperate comparisons and rampant devil’s advocacy. One of the more underutilized of these voids is the days immediately leading up to March Madness, until this year, when someone got creative.
Jimbo Fisher’s jumbo contract. Fisher’s refusal to mention Florida State by name or acknowledge any gratitude for the time he spent there since his hiring. Offering to make LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda the first $2 million coordinator in college football. Using Seminole players in Aggie recruiting materials. The university president “awarding” Fisher a presumptive national championship trophy.
The contracts is just “business evolution,” the FSU shun is typical coach-bravado, the blank plaque was just ordinary oblivious hubris on the part of A&M brass, and it’s doubtful that Jimbo was laboring late at night in the computer lab over recruiting Photoshops. Dumb, arrogant, and annoying on all counts? Sure. But not evil.
In the last three months, one or more of these actions has outraged, offended, or otherwise perturbed millions of college football fans across the country.
This is the Internet, in the year 2018. Outraged, offended, and perturbed is the default audience setting.
The Aggies are about to occupy new space on the college football landscape, that of a villain.
Their “heel” status will only become worse as they begin winning more games under Fisher, which they surely will. I question how the University, football program, and its fan base will react to this status.
OK, JAMES PATTERSON. Oh, the Aggies are “heels” to many folks, no doubt, but the variations on the Merriam-Webster definition are subtle, yet important.
6a: “a contemptible person : a person who is self-centered or untrustworthy”
6b: “professional wrestling : a wrestler who performs the role of the unsympathetic antagonist or adversary in a staged wrestling match”
6a might well describe our administration and BOR, but the football team over the last few seasons has played 6b flawlessly: generating buzz, building up hopes, then getting pummeled haplessly to the delight of the entire nation over the last month of the season. If that gets worse, Fisher is not long for this role.
Anyway, let’s continue:
For 100 years, the Aggies have been fan favorites in college football.
Uh, what. How is this even...what?
Their endless traditions are charming.
Trust me, to most outsiders, they are confusing and obscure. But endless is accurate.
Their emphasis on military service and the Corps of Cadets admirable. They’ve got a great marching band.
The mascot is cute.
They win just enough games to be interesting, but not so many that they keep other teams from championships.
They have historically been positioned as working-class, scrappy underdog battling the entitled and snobby Longhorns.
NOT ANYMORE, WE DON’T NEED THEM WE’VE MOVED ON, DROPPED A HALF A BILLYIN ON THE STADIUM AND FLEW IN A CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER COACH ON A GOLD-PLATED LEARJET YEEEEHAW. This angle flew the coop years ago. Now we’re the entitled and snobby ones, only without the hardware to back it up.
Add to this likeability, the extraordinary hospitality of their fans.
In seven straight years of travelling to Texas A&M for a football game, I’ve heard countless stories – from opposing fan bases – about the welcome they received from the Aggies. I’ve heard stories of opposing fans writing letters to Texas A&M University administrators in astonishment over the warm reception in College Station and how it starkly contrasts the mood for visitors around the rest of the league. I’ve received this warm reception myself.
Blah blah blah, someone’s been reading too many TexAgs posts. Blue star for classiness!
Opposing SEC fans, in response, have warmed to the Aggies.
Have they? Polling sample: all of the opposing SEC fans who bothered to create an account on TexAgs just to say how much they enjoyed winning at Kyle Field.
And it’s all about to change.
No more Mr. Nice Guy, you might say.
OH MAN THE ALICE COOPER DROP. TIME TO GET NASTY, AGS.
Texas A&M is now flexing its muscle. It’s showing off the extraordinary financial heft it has at its disposal. A previously unseen arrogance – which always existed there, but was kept hidden – has surfaced.
The most accurate paragraph, by far.
The Aggies no longer primarily want to be nice. They primarily want to win.
By shucks, we finally figured it out! We’re supposed to be winning, not just being classy!
And if being booed and jeered by opposing fans and becoming the target of talk show hosts and social media is the price to pay, so be it. The Aggies have more than proven their willing to pay big price tags.
Oh, is that all it takes? Being the butt of endless (and most of the time well-deserved) roasting is the sole sacrifice we must pay for championships? Seems like we’d have a shelf full of trophies by now.
But how will they wear this new suit of clothes? It’s not easy being despised.
It is for some of us. Depends on how seriously you take yourself, Chadd.