We’ve had about a week to stew on the Jimbo Fisher/Nick Saban feud that started with Saban accusing Fisher of “buying every player’ in the Aggies top-ranked recruiting class. Fisher fired back, calling Saban a “narcissist” and mockingly calling him “God”. Is Saban wrong for calling out Fisher? Should Fisher have just ignored Saban’s comments?
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - I’m not going to say Saban is wrong because the whispers about the last cycle were already pretty loud and the defensiveness coming out of College Station has been even louder. Look, everyone knows the recruiting game isn’t clean and the NIL stuff has made it more out in the open. I’m not here for the pearl-clutching and finger-pointing when both programs in this instance have plenty of skeletons in their closets and I’m sure neither of their administrations really want people poking around their books.
For me, this is similar to Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss when they suddenly started landing monster classes and everyone started raising their eyebrows wondering what was going on in Oxford. Has Jimbo Fisher been a pretty good recruiter dating back to his time at Florida State? Yup. But I’m also plenty skeptical that A&M was suddenly able to outmuscle programs in a region that usually doesn’t allow outsiders to pluck their top-end talent. If that makes me a hater then so be it, but I’ve followed and been around recruiting long enough now that things like this don’t just suddenly turn on a dime without questions being asked.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - I think characterizing it as “Saban Calling out Fisher” is not really fair. Saban was calling out the system (hence the mention of Deion Sanders and Jackson State). The fact that Jimbo and A&M fans took it personally says way more about them than it does Saban. I think it’s probably insecurity on both Saban’s part since A&M beat them on the field and recruiting. Alabama has been seen as a juggernaut and so I think the perception of vulnerability there makes him feel insecure. I also think that Jimbo showed a TON of insecurity by responding the way he did. You literally beat them on the field and pulled in the best recruiting class of all time. Next time you’re in front of the media, make an offhanded comment about some folks around the league being so afraid of you that they’re making up rumors. Instead, he lashed out like a toddler basically saying “nuh-uh” for 15 minutes.
Evan Kirschner (@EvanKirschner) - For starters, Saban is wrong for specifically calling out Jimbo and A&M by name. But Saban’s a smart guy, and this finger-pointing has really gotten his point across that A&M’s jump to number one in recruiting is a bit too much for a school and coach that have yet to seriously push for a College Football Playoff appearance. Jimbo going scorched earth in his response was entertaining, but I’d wish he and the fellow Aggies also seemingly in denial would just admit that NIL has boosted their recruiting efforts. It’s not like College Station or A&M suddenly became a destination for five stars out of California overnight. And one win vs Alabama doesn’t make the leap make sense on its own either.
The Horns missed out on wideout Jordan Addison in the transfer portal but picked up a commitment from Iowa State’s Tarique Milton. What does Milton bring to the wide receiver room?
Daniel - Milton won’t take the sting out of losing out on Addison, but he adds very valuable depth in the slot and also adds value in the special teams department. I don’t see him unseating Jordan Whittington as a starter, but he certainly provides some insurance given Whitt’s injury history and is a potential explosive play when he gets out into space with the football.
Gerald - I said it last week, Addison and Milton (or Hall/Neyor for that matter) serve different needs in the wide receiver room. We saw last year how thin the wide receiver room was from a talent and consistency standpoint, so adding those types of guys does more to shore up the floor for the receivers than it does the ceiling. The great thing about the specific players that Texas added is that they all have a pretty high upside, so at worst they are depth adds, but they could also pop and turn into playmakers.
Evan - Addison obviously would’ve been the second biggest portal get for the Horns this off-season (behind QB1 Ewers, of course), but it never hurts to have more depth and options in the WR room. Given the injury history with Whittington and the general unknown for the rest of the WR group outside of Worthy, Milton was a good addition to help bolster an important skill position in Sarkisian’s offense.
Texas baseball began their post-season this week, opening the Big 12 conference tournament with victories over Oklahoma State and TCU, and are a step closer to hosting the NCAA Regionals. How much would hosting the regionals help the Longhorns quest to earn back-to-back bids to Omaha?
Daniel - Given the pitching struggles this year I think any and all favorable matchups they can provide themselves with seeding will go a long way towards making a run to Omaha. This team can hit with the best of them, but they are going to be all hands on deck when it comes to latter part of games since it has been proven leads aren’t exactly safe with how the bullpen has performed.
Gerald - It’s almost always better to play at home than it is on the road, especially with this year’s team and their struggles outside of Austin. The current run in the Big 12 tournament has Texas looking considerably better in their quest to host, but it feels like the team may be finding its stride at least against conference opponents. Wherever they end up playing, I still think it’s going to come down to Texas finding ways to win with their first two starters in the regionals to avoid the third game issues they’ve faced as of late.
Evan - I think the narrative Texas needs to win the Tournament to host a regional is overblown. RPI is fickle - it’s why schools like A&M were canceling games late in the year. The beauty of the Big 12 is two wins would vault the RPI to the low teens, which might be enough to help us sneak into a top 16 seeding and host a regional depending on how things break outside the Texas realm of control.
That being said - would never hurt to host. Texas is 24-7 at home, compared to just 17-10 in Neutral/Away games. The only negative to hosting is that Texas would likely get paired with Texas State - a team that went 1-1 against UT this year, with the best team in program history, making its way to Austin as an underseeded two seed. Even with that tough draw, it would be playing with a stacked deck asking a team to take two from the Horns in Austin.
The Texas Women’s Tennis program clinched back-to-back National Championships with a victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. Is there a better opponent to clinch a National Championship against than Oklahoma?
Daniel - I’d imagine OU and A&M are neck and neck in that department. Had to be pretty satisfying to put a ring on it against their hated rivals.
Gerald - OU is always the right answer. But the fact that OU beat Texas in the indoor championships earlier in the year makes it even better.
Evan - nope - it’s always great to win, but sublime to inflict defeat and heartbreak on your arch-rival at the same time.