Texas A&M is looking to capitalize on an opportunity to make a statement against a heavily-favored Clemson in College Station this weekend. The Aggies lead the all-time series with the ACC heavyweight program, 3-1, but Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher are each looking to snap losing streaks against the Tigers, and Dabo Swinney.
Fisher and Swinney are certainly no strangers meeting for the first time this weekend. The two former ACC Atlantic Division foes are meeting for the ninth time in their careers, and the records are even at four wins each. But the swing of the coaching matchup has favored Swinney of late with three straight wins against the former Florida State head coach. The national perception of each program has swung in favor of the winning coach throughout this little coaching rivalry as well.
After splitting their first two meetings at a time when both coaches were getting settled in with their programs, Fisher then went on a three-game winning streak. During that run, Fisher had a Heisman Trophy winner in Jameis Winston and won one BCS national championship and coached the Seminoles to a berth in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
Then Swinney took charge with Clemson rising in national prominence. Swinney and the Tigers went on a three-game winning streak against Fisher’s Noles, claiming three consecutive ACC conference crowns, back-to-back appearances in the College Football Playoff national championship game, winning one, and making a third appearance representing the ACC in the College Football Playoff last season. Also last season, Fisher was going through a down year in Tallahassee that ultimately ended with Fisher accepting a job offer at Texas A&M.
Now, this weekend, the two coaches have reunited once again as Texas A&M hosts Clemson in the first game of a home-and-home series (the two play in Clemson next September). Somebody is going to take the lead in their coaching rivalry, and the win will carry some significance moving forward. A win for Swinney keeps Clemson firmly in place as a playoff contender. A loss may not be the end of the world, of course. If Texas A&M wins, Fisher will finally knock Swinney back into the loss column and give Texas A&M a charge moving forward into SEC play as a team not to take lightly this fall.
May the best coach win.