Jimbo Fisher arrived in College Station on Sunday with the real maroon carpet treatment.
The former Florida State coach exited off a chartered jet, flashed a “Gig’em” sign with his right thumb and walked out onto the tarmac for an initial glimpse of his new hometown.
The Texas A&M band played the Aggie War Hymn to greet Fisher, the Aggies’ newest head coach, as fans watched it all via live stream, celebrating championship seasons hopefully to come.
But A&M still needs to finish this season, the one that ended up with the firing of coach Kevin Sumlin a week ago. Sumlin has emerged as a potential candidate to replace Scott Frost at Central Florida.
About three hours after Fisher hit town, this year’s Aggies learned their bowl destination. They’ll play Wake Forest in the Dec. 29 Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. Both teams are 7-5 and have never faced each other on the football field. It’ll be A&M’s ninth consecutive bowl game.
Fisher won’t coach the game. Since he resigned from Florida State on Friday, he won’t coach the Seminoles, either. Florida State thrashed Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, which allowed them to even their record at 6-6 and accept an invitation to the Independence Bowl against Southern Mississippi and extend their post-season streak of appearance to 36 straight years.
Keep in mind that Fisher still hasn’t even been officially announced as A&M’s head coach.
Florida State officials released the news Friday when Fisher resigned.
A&M will make it official Monday morning, after the A&M board of regents rubber-stamp the hire during a teleconference. A&M emailed reporters on Sunday, saying school officials “will host a press conference regarding the future of the Aggie football program.”
Once he’s introduced, Fisher will be able to start recruiting and hiring staff. The first national signing period starts Dec. 20 and Fisher’s first task will be to keep the A&M class together. Four-star safety Leon O’Neal, who had been the top-ranked recruit in the class, decommitted the same day that news broke of Fisher’s hire.
On Sunday afternoon, the SEC assigned a group of teams to play in its bowl pool, meaning the Aggies were considered for the Belk, the Texas Bowl in Houston, the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla, the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, the Music City Bowl in Nashville and the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
Jeff Banks, who coached tight ends and special teams under Sumlin, is expected to lead A&M’s bowl practices.
Wake Forest’s seven wins represents its best regular season total since 2008. The Demon Deacons finished in a three-way tie third in the ACC Atlantic Division.
Texas A&M (7-5) vs. Wake Forest (7-5), noon, Dec. 29, Charlotte, N.C., ESPN, 1370
Texas A&M: WR Christian Kirk, 730 yards receiving, 7 touchdowns.
Wake Forest: QB John Wolford, 2,792 yards passing, 25 touchdowns; 615 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns.
Texas A&M: Jimbo Fisher was recently hired by the Aggies as coach but will not coach in the Belk Bowl. Three of the Aggies’ losses this season came against teams that were in the AP Top 25 at the time: Alabama (27-19), Auburn (42-27) and LSU (45-21).
Wake Forest: After big wins against Syracuse and then 19th-ranked North Carolina State, the Deacons suffered a setback with a 31-23 loss to Duke in the regular season finale.
Texas A&M: The Aggies are 17-21 in bowl games. They have been to nine straight bowl games but have lost the last two, including a 33-28 defeat last year to Kansas State.
Wake Forest: The Deacons are 7-4 in bowl games. This is their second straight bowl appearance, beating Temple 23-17 last year in the Military Bowl.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS