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Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher is distruaght as he reacts to a penalty against his team in the second quarter agaisnt LSU at Tiger Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019.

There’s a saying in Texas:

“All hat, no cattle.”

It means someone or something that is big on talk but short on substance.

It means, in our current context, Texas A&M football and its coach, Jimbo Fisher.

Actually, it goes double for the former LSU offensive coordinator since he owns two ranches over in southeast Texas.

While the 5-6 Vanderbilt Commodores will be playing for a bowl bid Saturday against a Tennessee team that will be without injured star quarterback Hendon Hooker, the 4-7 Aggies will be playing out the string against LSU (6 p.m., ESPN) at Kyle Field in College Station, with no hope of a bowl trip without buying tickets.

It is a game of stunning contrasts and coincidences (dare we say ironies? Perhaps).

Texas A&M started the season No. 6 in the polls, the same rank LSU (9-2) occupies now. The Aggies are just rank.

LSU is 6-1 in the SEC and headed back to the SEC championship game. Texas A&M is 1-6, the worst record in the league, as is its overall record. The Aggies couldn’t even buy a chance at a sixth win this season, since one of their rent-a-wins, Appalachian State, jumped up and bit them 17-14 on Sept. 10.

One of LSU’s rising stars is linebacker Harold Perkins. He was once committed to the Aggies, but signed with LSU in February.

“I remember everybody being up in arms when he committed to A&M,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said Monday. “And I remember telling everybody to be patient.”

Kelly got him, and Perkins has been worth at least one win. Maybe two. Meanwhile, the well of patience in Fisher and his program is running dry in the city by the Brazos River.

Remember when then A&M and current LSU athletic director Scott Woodward hired Fisher away from Florida State for the now quaint-looking contract of $75 million for 10 years guaranteed? Remember the school president handing Fisher a national championship “trophy” with the date left blank?

Still blank. And five years in, the comparisons with the man who Woodward and A&M fired to make way for Fisher continue to stand out in stark disbelief.

Through 59 games at A&M, Fisher is 38-21 and 22-18 against the SEC. Through the same number of games his predecessor, Kevin Sumlin, was 42-17 and 21-16 in SEC games. That includes a 14-13 record against the SEC West and a 13-15 record in the division for Fisher.

And as far as championships go, neither has one. Yes, the Aggies were on the doorstep of a College Football Playoff berth in 2020 with a 9-1 record, but they didn’t quite get there.

Another cattle-less hat.

Fisher has been making news all year long for all the wrong reasons. After signing an NIL-fueled recruiting class that was ranked as the best ever, Fisher called a news conference to shoot back at allegations by Alabama coach and Fisher mentor Nick Saban that A&M had cheated to get it. It’s difficult to make such an accusation stick, but clearly the Aggies gamed the system to their advantage.

Then came the pratfall of the season, starting with that early loss to Appalachian State. It hasn’t gotten much better. Yes, the Aggies lost at Alabama by four and to Ole Miss by three. But A&M also got crushed by Mississippi State and Florida and led UMass, the team CollegeFootballNews.com ranked as the worst in the FBS going into last week, just 13-3 midway through the fourth quarter before winning 20-3.

All this begs three key questions:

1. Will Texas A&M fire Fisher? Even for a deep-pocketed school like A&M that has lavished literally hundreds of millions of dollars on facilities and salaries, there is a limit. A&M would owe Fisher $86 million thanks to the new contract Woodward’s successor, Ross Bjork, brilliantly drew up. That’s more than Texas or Oklahoma ($80 million) have to pay to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.

2. Will Fisher hire an offensive coordinator? Actually, he has one, another former LSU assistant, Darrell Dickey, who is also the tight ends coach. The more salient question is whether Fisher will give up play-calling duties, which he still handles himself. They say Fisher has seen the light, but whether he actually relinquishes control of the offense and becomes more of a CEO coach is still debatable.

3. Are all of the Aggies’ problems related to play calling? Hardly. The Aggies have been terrible on the offensive line and ranked last in the SEC in rushing defense. Because of Fisher’s enormous buyout, defensive coordinator DJ Durkin’s seat is actually hotter.

As was shown at LSU with Kelly, one good season in the transfer portal and the right hires, like Broyles Award semifinalist Matt House at defensive coordinator, can work wonders.

But time is running out for Fisher to fill that hat — and the blank spot on that trophy.

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