Why Kevin Sumlin is still at Texas A&M


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?

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  • I think the verdict is still out on whether or not LSU has or will see improvement from its coaching change. Let’s give O “at least one full season” b4 saying he has the programming treading water. Lol. He did manage to beat Sumlin so it’s a bit of a stretch to say Sumlin is a better option.

    Other than that, good article on why Sumlin may be still in College Station. Didn’t need the O ref to sell the point. Poor comparison right now at least.

    • The article is ridiculous. Glenn thinks everyone in the West should be happy with 8 wins as long as Saban is around. Teams only play Bama once, so what about the other losses? LSU has no regrets about firing Miles. We don’t know that we found the right replacement yet, but the firing was correct. The Aggies will see how this season plays out, and then make a decision about their future. They can’t be scared to make a change if the results don’t improve.

      • My take on the whole Alabama situation is this: I think being happy with an 8 win season is perfectly acceptable with Saban around. You only play Bama once, but there are always two or three teams right on the schedule with as much or more talent than anyone but Bama. Bama is head and shoulders above everyone else in two and three deep talent. Let’s use LSU as an example. Other than the Bama game, you have Auburn and Florida every year. Those are your typical power teams on LSU’s schedule year after year. Throw in the random Ole Miss/MSU/Arky games (and by random I mean years that they are playing at a high level) and it’s not hard to imagine an 8 or 9 win season more often than not.

        • Dude the only team that has been playing at a high level is Bama. We love to boost the SEC and the “gauntlet” but the fact is no one outside of Bama has been preforming at a “high level”, and has been inconsistent. And don’t lump us all in with Bama, that’s what gives the SEC a bad name.

    • I totally agree. The same people who are propping up Miles by using Orgeron as the foil were saying he would have another job in a week. Still unemployed. When you watch every game more than once, some of these regional and national sports writers and bloggers have no idea how silly they look. And I’m not a huge Orgeron supporter. But you can’t make a judgement based on no data.

  • A lot of Captain Obvious, a bit of Saban brown-nosing, and a healthy dose of condescension. Oh well, better than ridiculous off-season lists.

  • When a coach comes along with the potential to be the next Saban, he will, most likely, be Saban’s replacement at Alabama. JS

  • This is the most talented that our team has ever been but losing to teams like the Mississippi schools, K-State, Louisville (the year before last) is inexcusable. Also, field goal kicking contests with Vandy too? I understand Bama, and LSU, teams we don’t quite have the talent of, but losing to lesser teams (being out coached) is just stupid. Why do you think we can beat Arky on a consistent basis, because we outclass them (though they have the better coach IMO). We trade W’s with Auburn because we have similar talent level. If you don’t think coaching is important then look at Clemson for example. According to 247 team talent composite rankings, Clemson ranks in at 10 with team talent and beat the number 1 team in talent (Alabama) in the NC game. A&M ranks at 12 (what a fitting number, right?).

    Comparisons to Saban, or , heck even Dabo, is absurd. I know, but any coach in the country can come in and do what KS has done with this level of talent. Sumlin is on his last leg, and this is coming from a Sumlin supporter.

  • I know people are tired of hearing this….but we didn’t play a full schedule. Saying no other team won more than 8 games ignores that. Unless you think we were destined to lose to South Alabama, one should consider the season a 9 win campaign for comparison’s sake. Or at least count losses instead of wins. And the notion that A&M is treading water but LSU is sinking is absolutely insane. Ed lost 2 games with an interim offensive coordinator who was previously the TE coach and had not called plays in a decade, then proceeded to beat A&M with the backups in the 4th quarter. The Florida game was particularly disappointing, but the showing vs Bama was just about everything one could have hoped for in that situation. and you didn’t include Auburn in the treading water category? They’ve lost at least 5 games in each of the past 3 seasons. Same for a&m, same for arkansas. LSU has lost 5 games only 3 times since 2000.—At any rate, acting like Ed Orgeron is destined to be a failure and acting like he’s already proven to be Derek Dooley is crazy. The guy pulled in a strong recruiting class midseason, played Alabama as well as anyone could have hoped for, stomped the Heisman trophy winner in a bowl game, retained a top defensive cooridnator, and hired a seemingly capable staff including an offensive coordinator that most consider a sound hire. Derek Dooley couldn’t sign and retain a full class’s worth of athletes lol. I hope Ed Orgeron works out, and I think he will. Even if you don’t agree, you ought to know better than to compare a 6-2 season as the interim head coach to a decade of volunteer misery. Thats a stretch.

    • Using A&M as a measuring stick for LSU success is completely moot. We did not have a good team last year… We won’t be better this year either. But we will probably win 8 games.

      • agreed. The author did so…. I only followed suit to continue the discussion. He also compared us to Tennessee. I usually use Alabama as the measuring stick, but its useful to compare LSU to the entire West.

  • The addition of Matt Canada already makes Orgeron a better HC than Miles.

  • Sumlin is still there because of the money. Period.

    Here is some context for those “8-win” seasons. Over 4 seasons, he is 15-1 in his first four games of the season and is 7-9 in his last four games of the season. Those 7 wins have come against: #3 Auburn (solid), Miss St (solid), Vandy, UTEP, ULM, UTSA and Western Carolina while he has feasted on Rice (x2), SMU (x2), Sam Houston State, Lamar, Nevada, Ball State and Prairie View A&M in the first part of the season. Even the UCLA and Arizona State OOC wins lost their luster by the end of each of those seasons. Being perfect in OOC in four seasons will not overshadow 4-4 / 3-5 in the SEC.

    In my opinion, this is his last season at A&M unless he can finish 6-2 or better in SEC play. The 1-3 finish in 2016 set this season up as a critical one for him.

    • No, 5-3 in conference and he stays because it’s set up as exceeding all expectations if he finishes 9-3 regular season. Losses to ‘bama, UF, and LSU are expected. Lose to UCLA or Arky early and the wheels could come off.

  • I guess it’s ridiculous for an LSU fan to expect a team with perennial top 3-5 talent to finish in the top 10 at least half of the time. Or top 2 in the SEC.

  • Some Aggie fans are just as entitled as fans from other big universities. If they don’t win a championship every year, something is wrong and change needs to be made because change is better. Coach Sumlin is a good coach. We just want him to be better. We want him to close on a couple of really good recruits who seem to have A&M as their second choice. We want to a team that doesn’t fade out at the end of the season. Another season of near misses and fading down the stretch will have even Sumlin supporters clamoring for a change.

    The LSU reference was not a good one. Ed Ogeron is not a bad option. The guy can recruit and he has gained valuable experience from Ole Miss and Southern Cal. LSU might have fallen into a great situation with Ed O.