College football predictions: Texas A&M will abort Jimbo Fisher's mission
It’s not nice to kick somebody when they’re down, so we’ll avoid the word “Miami” this week. But I can’t help hoping that Texas A&M keeps getting booted around.
It’s nothing personal. If you like chicken fried steak, College Station is Heaven. The attraction for me is the chicken fried football.
The program has turned into a grease fire and customers are grousing for a new chef. The catch is that Jimbo Fisher will get $85,950,000 if he’s kicked out of the kitchen.
But forget football for a minute. From a purely scientific standpoint, the Aggies’ dilemma is engrossing.
Just as John Glenn was the first American astronaut sent into orbit, Fisher is the first coach to get a mega-money guaranteed contract. This is a case study in financial pain tolerance. How much can A&M take before it aborts this mission?
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Current UCF coach Gus Malzahn currently holds the record for largest buyout at $21.4 million, complements of Auburn. But that came way back in 2020. Since then, contract guarantees have really blasted off.
Kirby Smart’s is currently $103 million. Mel Tucker’s is $86 million. James Franklin’s is $72 million. The assistant long-snapping coach at Bemidji State’s is probably $15 million.
The Aggies’ $86 Million Man is in the hottest seat for now. Fisher will survive if he wins a couple more games. But what if the Aggies stagger home 3-9 or 4-8?
Would A&M really pay Fisher $86 million to not coach? And if it did, how many college football fans would laugh so hard their spleens would rupture?
In the pursuit of scientific knowledge, it would be fascinating to find out.
Speaking of shocking records, I went 8-2 last week. If this keeps up, I’m going to demand Gannett increase my buyout from $0.00 to a Gainesville Sun coffee mug.
Here are Whitley's picks:
Florida vs. Georgia: The Gators will win if Anthony Richardson is turnover free, its defense makes a few big third-down stops, Georgia is looking ahead to Tennessee and Stetson Bennett IV elopes with Taylor Swift right before kickoff. I can maybe see one of those things happening, but not four. Georgia 33-17.
Ole Miss at Texas A&M: The Aggies have three straight losses, three injured offensive linemen, three players suspended and an offense that’s averaging about 3.3 points per game. Godspeed, Jimbo Fisher. Ole Miss 24-16.
Cincinnati at UCF: I hope the Knights get it together, simply because Gus Malzahn’s retirement fund doesn’t need another buyout. UCF 28-24.
Buyout Trivia: John Glenn’s contract with NASA paid him about $12,000 a year. That’s $8,488,000 less than Fisher will make this year, but Glenn didn’t have the pressure of trying to win the SEC West.
Georgia Tech at FSU: Another Florida vs. Georgia game, except that this Georgia team fired its coach three games ago. They Yellow Jackets have been playing better since, but they’re still the Yellow Jackets. FSU 31-16.
Was Cristobal worth the big money?
Unmentionable School at Virginia: Said school gave Mario Cristobal a 10-year, $80 million deal. For that, it’s gotten three low-quality wins and an eight-turnover laugh-fest loss last week to Duke. Fear not, Cristobal’s too good a coach to let said team commit nine turnovers against the lowly Cavaliers. Unmentionable School 23-21.
Michigan State at Michigan: If the Spartans get humiliated, their $86 Million Man might get shot into orbit. Michigan 39-17.
Bemidji State at Southwest Minnesota State: I couldn’t find out what the actual buyout would be for the Beavers’ assistant long-snapping coach. But Bemidji’s won six straight games, so the guy’s in no danger of getting fired. Bemidji State 41-28.
Kentucky at Tennessee: The Vols are overdue for a bad game and should be looking ahead to next week’s encounter with Georgia. I just hope Wildcats fans try to tear down the goal posts and tote them back to Lexington. Upset Special Kentucky 31-27.
Bemidji State Trivia: The Beavers have won as many SEC football championship as Vanderbilt.
Arkansas at Auburn: We’re one week closer to Auburn paying Bryan Harsin $15 million to go away. Arkansas 27-17.
Ohio State at Penn State: The Buckeyes finally play a team capable of beating them. I’m also capable of winning a Pulitzer, but it’s highly unlikely. Ohio State 34-22.
Missouri at South Carolina: Are the Gamecocks really 5-2 and ranked No. 25 despite the fact Spencer Rattler has more interceptions (8) than TD passes (5)? Sounds as if Shane Beamer should be in line for a Jimbo-like contract. South Carolina 24-21.
Chicken Fried Steak Trivia: It's part on the official state meal of Oklahoma, along with fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbeque pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, black-eyed peas, and pecan pie. Oklahoma's official state medical emergency is the heart attack.
David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DavidEWhitley