Did Lane Kiffin make a dig at Jimbo Fisher? I think so, but he did it cleverly | Toppmeyer

Blake Toppmeyer

Lane Kiffin is such a master of wit and deadpan that I couldn’t tell the extent to which he intended for his assessment of Texas A&M to sound like a clever elbow at Jimbo Fisher.

Multiple times this week, Kiffin dubbed the Aggies as having “one of the best five rosters in all of college football.”

There’s at least a hint of a dig folded into that flattery.

OUTBID:Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin explains losing DJ Durkin to Texas A&M: 'We got outbid.'

CHANGING THE GAMEPLAN:Lane Kiffin says to expect this big change in Ole Miss football's gameplan moving forward

If A&M’s roster is so loaded, why are the Aggies 3-4 midway through Fisher’s fifth season?

I asked Kiffin that, but the Ole Miss coach wouldn’t bite. That’s for the media to speculate on, he said.

Fisher is taking heat for the Aggies’ flop of a season after signing the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class and starting the year ranked No. 6 nationally in the preseason polls.

No. 12 Ole Miss (7-1) will play the Aggies on Saturday at Kyle Field in a pivotal bounce-game game for the Rebels' contention for a second straight New Year’s Six bowl, following last week’s loss to LSU.

Kiffin noted A&M is more dangerous at home – except against Appalachian State, he quipped – and he kept returning to the depth of riches on Fisher’s roster; and the riches in the Aggies’ vaults.

Asked about Ole Miss losing defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin to the Aggies in the offseason, Kiffin noted his program “got outbid,” which is “a common theme with" Texas A&M.

This is a reference to Kiffin’s offseason insinuation that A&M’s No. 1 recruiting class occurred, in part, because of recruiting inducements.

“I didn’t know if Texas A&M incurred a luxury tax with how much they paid for their signing class,” Kiffin said in the offseason of Fisher’s class that included eight five-star signees.

Fisher fired back at the accusations of player purchasing by calling Kiffin and others “clown acts," although Fisher didn't mention anyone specifically by name.

Fisher and Alabama’s Nick Saban later exchanged verbal barbs on this same topic, with Saban claiming without providing evidence that A&M “bought every player” on its roster.

A roster that, in Kiffin’s view, is more talented than the record reflects.

Fisher takes solace in the fact that the Aggies “are not getting ran out of the stadium.”

Leave it to Kiffin to seize on that comment.

“It’s not like they got blown out,” Kiffin said of the Aggies’ 30-24 loss to unranked South Carolina.

Fisher may see this adversary as a "clown act," but I see some clever needling.

South Carolina wins a replica trophy for beating the Aggies

A replica of the Bonham Trophy found a new home in Columbia, South Carolina.

James Butler Bonham, whom the trophy is named after, graduated from South Carolina. Like Davy Crockett, he fought and died in the Battle of the Alamo.

Former Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier must be positively overjoyed about USC's trophy acquisition.

Here’s what Spurrier said in 2014 after learning that a faux rivalry the SEC concocted between South Carolina and Texas A&M would become a trophy game:

“I always was taught the hero of the Alamo was Davy Crockett, so this was a new one on me.” Spurrier, who was raised in East Tennessee, said then. “I'm sure Bonham did some good things.

“If they want to do (a trophy), that's fine.”

The real trophy resides at the Alamo, according to the State newspaper.

USC captured the replica after its first-ever win over the Aggies.

How many LSU fines would it take to pay for Jimbo Fisher’s buyout?

I briefly pondered why LSU fans rushed the field after the Tigers beat Ole Miss for the sixth time in the past seven seasons.

Then I remembered Instagram and TikTok exist. Mystery solved.

The SEC fined LSU $250,000 for its third field-storming in the past nine seasons.

The fine got me thinking about all the things you could do with a quarter-million dollars.

You could:

Email of the week

Amie writes: I hope you are doing well on this run-up to the midterms. It is hard to believe that it is almost Halloween. 

I would love to put you on the phone with one of our experts from the OSET Institute. Whether dead people actually vote in droves was the subject of the Institute’s first podcast.

My response: If they’re dead, I can assure you they’re not voting. Perhaps I can moonlight as one of your “experts.” Look alive out there.

Three and out

1. Bo Nix transferred to Oregon from Auburn, and he ranks among the nation’s best quarterbacks for the No. 8 Ducks. Bryan Harsin remained at Auburn, which is 3-4 and plagued by a poor offense entering Saturday’s game against Arkansas. Seems like the problem remains at Auburn, while the asset left for Oregon.

2. Florida rose to prominence with Spurrier’s Fun ‘N’ Gun offense. Under first-year coach Billy Napier, the Gators use the Run ‘N’ Run. They lead the nation averaging 6.4 yards per carry. But their opponent Saturday, No. 1 Georgia, possesses one of the nation’s best run defenses.

3. Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz says he’ll consider handing off play-calling duties after this season, but he's retaining those duties for now. Drinkwitz created this offensive mess plaguing the Tigers (3-4), he admitted, and so for now it’s his problem to fix. I respect the answer, if not an offense that ranks among the SEC’s worst. As for next season, Drinkwitz said he’s open to anything, including a shift to the wishbone offense. Such a transition would make Barry Switzer, 85, a good candidate for offensive coordinator.

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

The "Topp Rope," is his twice-weekly SEC football column publishing throughout the USA TODAY NetworkIf 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