This SEC school is a reason why Texas A&M & Baylor are in a coaching contract crisis

Scott Sewell / /USA TODAY Sports

In the celebrated history of “Brain Dead Guaranteed Buyouts,” Texas A&M has won the national title forever thanks to its deal with football coach Jimbo Fisher.

Paying a person $76.8 million to guarantee they will not work is straight out of the government spending playbook.

For the next few years, the “Jimbuyout” will provide cover for dozens of universities that are contemplating spending millions of dollars to dump a coach.

Firing Season has started in college football, and every school president and athletic director can at least say, “Well, it’s nothing compared to Jimbo.”

Looking at Baylor.

Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoads and Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork should schedule a meeting at the Blue Moon BBQ in Hearne, halfway between Waco and College Station, to bemoan how their respective employers got played by LSU, which is partly responsible for a mess they did nothing to create.

Baylor’s Dave Aranda Problem

Baylor is not apt to dump football coach Dave Aranda yet, but he’s “on the list.” He’s on that list because Baylor is 3-7, and will have a losing season for the third time in his four years in Waco.

For those Baylor fans who are upset that their team is locked into a coach they now no longer like, look at LSU.

In 2021, LSU was headed towards its second straight losing record under Ed Orgeron, whom they fired in the middle of October of that year. LSU needed candidates, and Aranda served as an assistant in Baton Rouge from 2016 to ‘19.

He made sense.

That season, Aranda led Baylor to a win over Oklahoma State in the Big 12 title game, and Sugar Bowl victory against Ole Miss. The Bears finished 12-2 and fifth nationally that season as Aranda was the third person this century to prove that Baylor football could be successful nationally.

To avoid their head coach leaving for LSU, or USC, Baylor took the A&M route. When Aranda agreed to a six-year extension that is supposed to keep him there to 2029, all of Baylor nation looked skyward and said, “Thank you, Lord.”

Lauded and appreciated for his stoic demeanor and professorial intellect, those same traits in 2023 make Aranda the dumbest man on a sideline. That’s what happens when you’re a “defensive guru” whose unit allows 32 points a game, and ranks 95th in the nation in total defense.

Aranda may want to win against TCU on Saturday in Fort Worth; he is 0-3 in his career against TCU, and lost the last two by the combined total of three points.

Baylor is 24-23 in Aranda’s four-year tenure. He’s been slow to embrace the transfer portal, and he needs players.

Because Baylor is a private school, the details of his contract aren’t public; the only “known” salary figure for Aranda is from by USA Today, which reported his contract in 2022 as $3.8 million a year.

A conservative estimate on Aranda’s buyout would be in the neighborhood of $24 million, and it’s likely closer to $30 million. Nothing compared to Jimbo, and still an enormous amount of money considering Baylor’s athletic department, and wealthy boosters, don’t have Aggie stupid cash.

How A&M Got “LSU’d”

When Fisher arrived to College Station in the winter of 2017, he left Florida State because then A&M athletic director Scott Woodward offered him a 10-year, $75 million contract.

In April of 2019, Woodward left A&M to accept the same position at LSU.

The Aggies finished 2020 9-1, and were ranked fifth in the final poll.

The 2021 season had not even begun and there was considerable speculation that Coach O was not long for LSU. Jimbo was a top candidate for an opening that didn’t exist.

Like Aranda, Jimbo had previously served as an assistant at LSU.

In an effort to end any chance that LSU, and Woodward, would have to potentially lure Jimbo to Baton Rouge, in Sept. of ‘21 the Aggies now infamously gave Fisher that 10-year, fully guaranteed $95 million extension through 2031.

Given Woodward’s track record at both Washington and Texas A&M, he was likely never going to hire Aranda or Fisher. Woodward hired Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly.

Extending Aranda may ultimately be regrettable, but it was logical at the time; what A&M did when the “threat of LSU” appeared was a self-inducted panic attack that will take years to pay off, and gives them the national title in “Brain Dead Guaranteed Buyouts.”