It’s probably only a matter of time until Donald Trump has a take on Kevin Sumlin, since just about everyone else has an opinion on whether Texas A&M’s head football coach will return next season.
Last week, a cbssports.com report had Penn State officials preparing for Texas A&M making a run at Nittany Lion coach James Franklin if the Aggies fired Sumlin. It was interesting to say the least. Franklin is from Western Pennsylvania and has turned things around back home. Odds are he’d think twice about returning to the Southeastern Conference. As for Sumlin, A&M was coming off a hard-fought 27-19 loss to top-ranked Alabama, the program’s best showing against the Crimson Tide since Sumlin’s first season in 2012. So my guess is maybe the story came from Franklin’s camp or someone who wants Sumlin gone.
Nevertheless, that became last week’s news around Aggieland when A&M grabbed a 19-17 victory over Florida at “The Swamp.” It was by far the season’s biggest victory for Sumlin, who is trying to move forward from a trio of 8-5 seasons that each had late-season slides starting with an Alabama loss.
So, this week’s news on Sumlin comes from Stewart Mandel and Bruce Feldman who on this week’s The Athletic’s “The Audible” podcast said Sumlin could leave Texas A&M for one of the soon-to-be many vacant jobs such as Arizona State or Nebraska.
“There’s some pretty good jobs that are going to come open, and especially for a guy that's won a lot of football games and has recruited very well,” Feldman said.
Interesting comments, but they might not sit well with some in the Sumlin camp or those who want him gone.
A nine-win season should bring Sumlin back for 2018, but probably not earn him an extension. So, how would athletic director Scott Woodward and the powers that be react if schools would make a run at Sumlin?
That, though, is getting way ahead of the actual timeline. A&M is a solid 5-2, but the Aggies need four more victories to give Sumlin a nine-win season. Anything less and he’s probably gone. I said a couple of weeks ago that maybe going 8-5 with no more bad losses, could do the trick. Now, I’m going back to what I said before the season, he has to win nine games. And that’s because of things like Penn State and this latest speculation that Sumlin would leave before getting fired. At some point, all this gets old for all concerned.
Bottom line: This all goes away if Sumlin wins nine games. Talking about who A&M might hire after if it fires Sumlin or where Sumlin might land to leave this all behind becomes moot. Let's be real, if Sumlin wins name games he's not going to leave A&M for Arizona State, Arkansas or Tennessee. This is the job he wants. Why prove himself here to go to a lesser job?
The bottom line is Sumlin, who was once ranked No. 1 by coacheshotseat.com is now at No. 21. Heck, the Aggies are ranked No. 24 in the coaches poll.
That’s all amazing considering the meltdown at UCLA. Sumlin looked like a fired coach for weeks. Maybe all this “noise” as Sumlin likes to call it has been turned into a positive by the players and coaches.