Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher says ACC owes improvement to SEC
|2018-07-16 16:32:24.0- -||
New Texas A&M and former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher was forced to walk a tightrope in the preseason hype machine that is conference media days Monday.
Last year at the ACC Kickoff, Fisher declared the ACC the "premier conference" in college football. Minutes after saying the SEC was "as good a league as there is" Monday in his SEC Media Days debut, he was asked if his opinion had changed about the ACC.
"No, I played in both conferences," Fisher said. "I'm going to tell you this: I think the ACC's progression to where it has become in football is because of the SEC. From being in the South and having -- not just play against but to recruit against and compete against daily and the way you have to operate your organization.
"Like I said, where I was at in Florida State, we were surrounded by Florida, by Georgia, by Alabama, by
Auburn. That was the closest schools to us. That's who our big recruiting battles occurred against. We
had Clemson and Miami and all those things, and we were surrounded that way. We excelled, Clemson has excelled, Miami has taken off, NC State (and) Louisville (too)."
In response to SEC programs' success, Fisher says ACC schools have started to invest more in their programs recently.
"In the South, in general, because you're so close, it enhanced the ACC's ability to compete and rise its level of ball because of the recruiting competition," Fisher said, "and then, once you get better players, you play better. And I think the commitment to those universities as far as jobs and money and salaries, if you look at that league, they've grown immensely in the last five, six years.
"I think the SEC's pressured to stay on top. Once somebody gets on top, like the SEC had the great run of the National Championship, we were able to break it with the SEC, so that raised the level of play in the ACC."
Fisher's bold statement while a Seminoles coach last year relates to what he said Monday, stating that he really had no expectation of leaving FSU and returning to SEC action. Clemson did its part in tagging Florida State with its sixth loss in nine games to start last season, 31-14, which was under a month from his departure to Texas A&M.
Of course, Fisher doesn't avoid Clemson the next two seasons, starting with a Sept. 8 meeting in College Station. He was asked Monday about facing Clemson and Alabama in the first four weeks of the season this September.
"It definitely makes your kids wonder. I think when you have those kind of games in the early parts of the season, I think it makes your summer that much better," Fisher said. "I think it gets your attention. They understand the competition level and what you come to.
"But, you know, the great teams I've ever been a part of, as crazy as this sounds, you prepared for your opponent, but that wasn't what it was about. It was more about the culture in which you created from within yourself and the way you wanted your team to play, and I think that's what we have to understand first and foremost...Hopefully it's about us getting ourselves ready to compete against everybody all year long."
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