The Texas A&M fan base is beginning to sound like that of LSU from a few years back. There are more than a few that want Kevin Sumlin replaced at any cost. And apparently it doesn’t matter who the replacement is, long as Sumlin is gone.
Well, as the old saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.” More than a few LSU fans were ready to sell their soul to the devil just to get rid of Les Miles. They didn’t care who was next in line as long as Miles was history. Well, he is, and the Tigers have Ed Orgeron, which seems like a lateral move at best.
So why is Sumlin still at Texas A&M, about to enter his sixth season? Well, usually when you talk about a business move, the answer is always money. Sumlin’s buyout at the end of the 2016 season would have been $15 million. That was Miles’ buyout at the end of the 2015 season and why many believed he remained in Baton Rouge into the 2016 season.
Is that what’s keeping Texas A&M from letting Sumlin go? Perhaps, but maybe the powers that be at Texas A&M are a little bit smarter than that; or maybe they are just a little more patient about it.
Yes, the expectations are to win and win big, especially in the SEC — and especially in the SEC West. But here’s the cold hard fact: Alabama is the leader of the pack in the SEC West and will remain so for as long as Nick Saban is at the helm.
It’s fine with wanting better, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. But there’s another old saying that goes something like this: “Don’t quit your job until you have a better one lined up.” That’s the mistake LSU made with Miles, and maybe Texas A&M is learning from it?
Change for the sake of change isn’t the answer. Just ask Tennessee.
It would appear that those who call the shots at Texas A&M aren’t among those who might succumb to the knee-jerk reactions its fans suffer from. The fact is, nobody is beating Saban on a consistent basis. If Alabama and Clemson played 10 times last year, the Tigers would be hard pressed to win more than five of those.
Sumlin has won 44 games in his five seasons. So firing Sumlin for the sake of firing him doesn’t make much sense. Besides, in case some of you Aggies fans forgot to check last year’s standings; Texas A&M won eight games in 2016. Only one team from the SEC West won more … just one: Alabama.
Until Texas A&M can find a coach who matches up with Saban, Sumlin is as good as it’s going to get for the Aggies. Count your lucky stars Aggies fans, your program is treading water. Some might argue that Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and perhaps even LSU can’t make that same statement. And if Auburn doesn’t produce in 2017, you could throw the Tigers into that basket as well.
No, until a coach comes along who shows the potential to be the next Saban (and how many of those are out there?), Texas A&M is doing the right thing in being patient. They’ve learned from Tennessee (Phil Fulmer) and LSU that the simple act of changing coaches doesn’t necessarily guarantee an improvement in your program.
Or, maybe it is all about the money?