Jimbo Fisher has his hands full Saturday when his Texas A&M Aggies take on the University of Arkansas Razorbacks in Arlington, Texas.
How does he get his team to take the Razorbacks seriously?
The Aggies are the only team in the country to have played No. 1 Alabama (45-23 loss) and No. 2 Clemson (28-26 loss). They are 2-2 having manhandled Northwestern State and Louisiana-Monroe.
Coming off a physical loss to the Tide and taking on 1-3 Arkansas might be just what the Aggies need, but how serious will they be about a team that has a very dangerous trend going right now? After opening the season with a win and scoring 55 points, the Hogs have scored 27, 17 and 3.
Granted, their offense was improved at Auburn. After three quarterbacks threw six interceptions against North Texas, the quarterback who didn't play in that game, Ty Storey, threw just one against the Tigers.
If un-special teams play and a fumble could be taken out of the equation, the Razorbacks would have lost 7-3. Gus Malzahn passed on taking the head coaching job at Arkansas because he felt he had a better chance to win a national championship at Auburn. It won't be this year.
Vegas has made the Aggies 21-point favorites. Auburn was favored by 30 after a ton of late money was bet on the Tigers.
Fisher has to deal with all of that.
One slight silver lining for the Razorbacks was their aggressive defense Saturday had four sacks and another five tackles for loss, although Auburn's O-line may be its Achilles' heel.
On the other side of the ball, Kellen Mond, Texas A&M's dual-threat quarterback, was sacked seven times by the Tide. He has suffered 13 sacks in just four games.
Slowing down Mond is critical for the Hogs' hopes. Stopping him would be a dream come true.
A true sophomore, Mond started eight games last season while throwing for 1,375 yards and rushing for 340.
He's from San Antonio but spent his senior season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. IMG is a sports factory, and Mond was a five-star recruit for Kevin Sumlin, who was fired last season to make way for the Aggies to sign Fisher to a guaranteed 10-year, $75 million contract.
That was just four years after winning the national championship at Florida State, but something went awry afterward and not just a divorce.
When he took the A&M job, Fisher said part of the reason was the administration at Texas A&M.
The Seminoles are 2-2 and have scored only 10 total points in their losses to West Virginia and Syracuse.
Maybe Fisher got out at the right time. He definitely landed in College Station at a nice time with 16 starters back. He still managed to land the No. 17 recruiting class in his first few weeks at A&M, and the previous three classes averaged No. 14 in the nation.
Everyone found out a couple of weeks ago that the Aggies are the richest athletic program in the country, passing arch-rival Texas. A&M's revenue is $148 million per year, $15 million more than No. 2 Texas.
When you throw in the recruiting base it is not a shocker Fisher was willing to leave FSU for Texas A&M, and even with a 2-2 start the honeymoon continues in College Station.
Fisher now needs to earn part of that huge salary and make sure his team doesn't overlook the Razorbacks, who showed more grit on defense against Auburn than they had in the three previous games.
Of course, the Hogs have to make special teams play special, and that has been Chad Morris' No. 1 concern this week.
Sports on 09/26/2018
Print Headline: Jimbo's task: Don't let Aggies sleep on Hogs