Neither Alabama nor Florida State has publicly confirmed reports that the two football programs will square off a couple of years from now. That, though, hasn’t stopped one of the likely head coaches in the potentially epic 2017 opener from openly discussing the much-speculated-on matchup.
Speaking in his hometown of Clarksburg, WV, Monday, Jimbo Fisher acknowledged what the two athletic directors won’t: his Seminoles will open the 2017 season against Nick Saban‘s Crimson Tide.
“To be able to go against someone who you have a ton of respect for in Nick and the program in which they have just adds to it,” the FSU head coach said according to the Palm Beach Post.
“We’ve been two of the most consistent programs in the country the last few years. It’s a great kickoff and it’s great for the game of college football.”
That opener in Atlanta two years from now will not only be a great matchup on the field, it will have a personal feel to it on the sidelines.
Both 49-year-old Fisher and 63-year-old Saban were born and raised in God’s Country, with the latter growing up about 20 miles away from the former’s hometown. Fisher’s first offensive coordinating job at a Power Five school came in 2000 at LSU. The Tigers’ head coach at the time? Saban, of course.
While Saban left Baton Rouge for the NFL following the 2004 season, Fisher remained at LSU for another two years before moving on to FSU as coordinator and, ultimately, head coach. Those five years working under Saban, however, helped shape the coach Fisher is today.
“His structure and organization and focus and ability to see the future,” the 2013 BCS champion stated. “Those are a lot of things I got from him. … how to think and how you look at things.”
Fisher and Saban have never faced each other as head coaches, although it came close to happening following the 2014 season. Both the Seminoles and Tide earned a spot in the first-ever College Football Playoff, FSU going up against Oregon and UA against eventual champion Ohio State. The meeting wasn’t to be, however, as the Tide lost by seven and the ‘Noles by 39.