Alabama coach Nick Saban -- arguably the best coach in college football history -- set the sport on fire Wednesday night by commenting that Texas A&M used the new name, image and likeness rules as a roundabout way to "buy" players. Thursday morning, Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher, who lured in the top-rated recruiting class in the history for TAMU this past cycle -- turned that fire white hot.

"It's going to be difficult for the people who are spending tons of money to get players," Saban said Wednesday. "You've read about them. You know who they are. We were second in recruiting last year. [Texas] A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team -- made a deal for name, image and likeness. We didn't buy one player. But I don't know if we're going to be able to sustain that in the future because more and more people are doing it."

Fisher fired back Thursday morning in a previously-unscheduled press conference.

"It's despicable that we have to sit here at this level of ball and say these things to defend the people of this organization, the kids, 17-year-old kids and their families," Fisher said. "It's amazing. Some people think they're God. Go dig into how God did his deal. You may find out about a lot of things you don't want to know."

The most recent spat came just two months after Fisher and called Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin a "clown" for Kiffin's comments about Texas A&M's recruiting class. At the time, Fisher noted it was a concern that has been raised by several other coaches in the conference.

Saban's comments about NIL, in totality, are spot on (even if other programs like Jackson State are caught in the crossfire). It has created massive issues in college football -- specifically given how different schools and booster collectives are approaching player retention, the transfer portal and recruiting. Guardrails do need to be put up because it really has become the Wild, Wild, West.

The blame for that falls on some combination of the NCAA and the federal government. The association, knowing it would face legal liability if it put rules in place and tried to enforce them, begged Congress to help come up with a solution. That effort was ultimately "too little too late" after states took matters into their own hands.

More importantly for the casual fan, though, NIL has indirectly brought fire back into untraditional rivalries in the SEC -- something that was sorely needed.

Let's be honest, the intrigue in the conference has centered around "Alabama, Georgia and 'everybody else'" recently, despite it being the strongest conference with plenty of other top-tier programs among its rankings. Like NIL, an Alabama-Georgia storyline every year is unsustainable ... at least for the casual fan.

Let's go back to 2009 in Destin, Florida, at the conference's annual spring meeting sessions. Lane Kiffin -- then the coach at Tennessee -- had taken several offseason shots at coach Urban Meyer and defending national champion Florida before Kiffin even coached a game in the conference. That came less than one year after former Tennessee coach Philip Fulmer was served a subpoena at SEC Media Days by a lawyer representing an Alabama booster in a defamation case centering on Fulmer's role in an NCAA investigation into Bama.

Former commissioner Mike Slive famously sat the league's 12 coaches down in a ballroom and read them the riot act, essentially setting the tone for the future of the SEC. Slive realized that a "rising tide lifts all boats," and that mentality helped the conference become the monster that it is today.

The pleasantness got stale, though. That tide -- pun very much intended -- has risen so high that the rest of the FBS and most of the other teams in their own conference have been drowned out by the success of Alabama and Georgia.

Let's not forget, this is a conference that Steve Spurrier helped popularize due not just to his incredible coaching but his effervescent, cutting personality that tweaked coaches and fans alike.

Except everything flipped on its head over the last day. The Alabama-Texas A&M game on Oct. 8 is now must-see TV. The Ole Miss-Texas A&M game on Oct. 29 holds that distinction, too. Both for storylines beyond the games themselves and their College Football Playoff implications.

Who knows how much more spice can be tossed into this offseason recipe considering spring meetings and media days haven't even taken place yet.

Fisher referenced parity several times during Thursday's rant. NIL is providing parity in the most dysfunctional way possible. In retrospect, shouldn't that have been the expectation all along?

College football is beautifully dysfunctional in every way possible. That's what makes it the greatest sport on Earth. 

The spat between Saban and Fisher proves it. Maybe Texas A&M will capitalize on its recruiting class and support system. Even if it doesn't, it's clear that -- in an era in which 12 SEC other teams are largely overlooked -- Saban views Texas A&M as a legitimate threat. Imagine what will happen if and when other teams follow the Aggies' model. 

Fisher was asked Thursday whether Saban had reached out after his comments Wednesday night.

"I didn't take the call. We're done."

Done until Oct. 8 inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.