Lane Kiffin buries Jimbo Fisher because Texas A&M coach committed cardinal sin | Toppmeyer

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Cheating won’t get you excommunicated from the college coaching community. Who among this league of honorable gentlemen hasn’t bent a rule or two? The profession also can forgive moral turpitude.

The unforgiveable sin of college coaching is much worse than that: To publicly criticize or denounce another coach is an attack on the Clipboard Wall itself. It is off-limits.

Not only did Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher break that cardinal rule in the offseason, but he also did so by coming at the greatest of all time, a man whose coaching tree reaches far and wide.

Is Nick Saban infallible? Surely not.

But is it another coach’s place to publicly say so? Most coaches would say no.

Fisher is not most coaches. This proud peacock refused to yield to college football’s overlord.

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Throughout the offseason, there were unsubstantiated whispers that the Aggies’ No. 1-ranked recruiting class may have been a byproduct, at least in part, of new rules governing name, image and likeness. Understandably, that didn't sit well with Fisher.

Then Saban spoke up at a May speaking engagement in Birmingham. While bemoaning the effects of NIL, Saban, without evidence, accused the Aggies of buying every player on their roster. His allegation raised a few eyebrows.

Fisher could have ignored, downplayed or simply rebuffed Saban’s claim. Instead, he went scorched earth.

In a news conference that napalmed the Clipboard Wall, Fisher dubbed Saban a despicable narcissist and a false god. He suggested that if you sniffed around Saban’s program, you’d find unsavoriness.

As Omar said in “The Wire,” if you come at the king, you best not miss. Not only did Fisher miss, but he also stumbled and face-planted into a pile of his own peacock poop.

Fisher’s Aggies, despite all that recruiting success and a preseason No. 6 ranking, are 3-5. And Fisher has become the biggest joke in his profession.

This is normally when the sports media sharpens its scalpel, but Fisher’s peers have joined the guffaws. Ole Miss’ quick-witted master of humor, Lane Kiffin, is leading the charge.

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Kiffin got caught in Fisher’s crosshairs in the offseason. After Kiffin insinuated that recruiting inducements assisted A&M’s signing haul, Fisher fired back, dubbing Kiffin a clown act.

While Kiffin opted for veiled barbs leading up to Saturday’s game at Kyle Field, he removed any ambiguity after his No. 12 Rebels downed the Aggies 31-28.

Kiffin began his assault during his postgame interview on the SEC Network.

“I mean, 390 yards rushing against a bunch of five-stars is pretty good,” Kiffin said.

The SEC Network’s Cole Cubelic asked Kiffin what he might wear for Halloween. Kiffin thought Fisher could lend a hand.

“Maybe Jimbo has a Joker outfit for me,” Kiffin quipped.

Kiffin’s verbal haymakers continued in his news conference.

“When someone attacks you personally and calls you and your buddy, Coach Saban, both clowns, you take that personal,” Kiffin said.

The gloves are off, and Fisher is the punching bag.

Kiffin tweeted earlier this week that “Karma” is his favorite song off Taylor Swift’s new album. Now we know why.

Of course, Fisher will enjoy the last laugh. He’s protected by an $87.5 million buyout.

Fisher broke Rule 1 of his profession, but he didn’t forget Rule 2: Make sure you have an escape hatch lined with dollar bills.

Bryan Harsin knows Auburn isn’t good

Speaking of buyouts, Auburn coach Bryan Harsin sounds like a man ready for his pink slip and a trip to buyout utopia.

“We’re not good enough. That’s just what it comes down to,” Harsin said after Auburn’s 41-27 home loss to Arkansas dropped his two-year record with the Tigers to 9-12.

Couldn’t have said it better myself, although I have been saying that since the preseason.

Harsin hasn’t recruited well. While SEC peers like Kiffin, LSU's Brian Kelly, Florida's Billy Napier and South Carolina's Shane Beamer addressed needs via transfers, Harsin lost more than he gained to the portal. He also couldn’t keep his coaching staff intact.

The university’s investigation of Harsin that spilled into the public eye last winter didn’t help the coach, but this tenure had the markings of failure before that tribunal began.

Bottom line: Auburn isn’t good enough, and neither is its coach.

Three and out

1. It is strange to see the program Steve Spurrier built devoid of talented wide receivers and hamstrung by a quarterback who does not threaten defenses through the air. Florida did well to keep its game against Georgia within 22 points. The 42-20 loss revealed the amount of recruiting Napier must do. Start by upgrading the skill positions.

2. It is a testament to the season Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker is having that he completed 76% of his passes in a 44-6 rout of Kentucky and I thought it was an average showing, by Hooker’s standards. That’s how high Hooker set the bar with his stellar play against Florida and Alabama. He’s the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, but that award is won with November and December performances. How Hooker fares this week against No. 1 Georgia and its ironclad secondary will be remembered when ballots are cast.

3. South Carolina beat Kentucky and Texas A&M with smoke and mirrors, but its offensive limitations were unmasked in a 23-10 loss to Missouri. The result was a boost for Missouri’s struggling coach, Eliah Drinkwitz, and its besieged quarterback, Brady Cook. Amid the fan base’s call for a quarterback change, Cook delivered one of his finest performances.

Blake Toppmeyer is an SEC Columnist for the USA TODAY Network. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer.

The "Topp Rope," is his twice-weekly SEC football column publishing throughout the USA TODAY Network. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. Also, check out his podcast, SEC Football Unfiltered, or access exclusive columns via the SEC Unfiltered newsletter.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY NETWORK: Lane Kiffin buried Jimbo Fisher. Here's why he roasted Texas A&M coach