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Seminoles fans, underestimate Texas A&M at your own peril

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher
Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports

I live in Florida, and when rumors began surfacing about Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher being a candidate for the likely coaching vacancy at Texas A&M, Seminoles fans greeted the speculation with a mixture of mockery and dismissal.

Why would Fisher leave Florida State – emphasis intended – for texas a&m – de-emphasis intended – Seminole fans scoffed.

Floridians think their college football is the best.

Last weekend, I attended the Auburn-Texas A&M game in College Station. It was my seventh straight year attending an Aggies home game.

I know a little something about college football in Florida, and in Texas. I have a message for my fellow Sunshine Staters: Texans think their college football can be the best, too.

Texas A&M wants to back up that belief.

If the power-brokers there set their sights on Fisher when replacing Kevin Sumlin, Seminoles fans should take that threat every bit as seriously as they did much-publicized attempts to snatch Fisher away by LSU over the past two years.

A comparison between the programs proves my point. Below, you’ll find data for both school’s football teams drawn from mandatory NCAA financial disclosures all public schools are required to file for the 2015-16 academic year, the most recent for which numbers are available.

Category School A School B
Ticket sales $17,445,095 $41,710,523
Contributions $15,840,981 $32,806,055
Recruiting budget $655,785 $884,700
Head coach’s salary $7,437,349 $6,304,582
Assistant coaches’ salaries $5,329,311 $4,082,237
Total operating expenses $42,547,101 $29,945,769
Total operating revenues $66,023,711 $99,563,727

Here’s one more data point that should give away the identity of “School A” and “School B” if you hadn’t figured it out: stadium capacity.

School A: 79,560

School B: 102,733

As Fisher continues bellyaching about the level of support he receives from FSU (an annual tradition under Fisher, and one of which FSU supporters have grown tired), you tell me, based on the data above, which school has greater resources – more money – to throw behind a successful football team?

Florida State is “School A.”

Human nature will tell you that with five consecutive double-digit win seasons, a national championship in 2013 and a College Football Playoff appearance in 2014, FSU’s desperation for success and willingness to provide Fisher the blank check he demands pales in comparison to that of the Aggies, who’ve won 10 games just once since 1999.

In fact, if you’re looking for a reason Florida State is a superior job to Texas A&M – I think they’re equals – it is that tradition of greatness.

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