After three consecutive 8-5 finishes, Kevin Sumlin knows he has to do better in 2017 – and if he doesn’t, the Texas A&M head coach may be out of a job.
In fact, Aggies athletic director Scott Woodward said as much this offseason.
“Scott Woodward basically said he’s got to win more and he’s got to win more now,” CBS College Football analyst Rick Neuheisel said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I don’t know that there’s been a clearer message sent from the athletic director seat to the head coach. In some ways, you may say that’s refreshing; in some ways, you’re going, ‘Holy cow.’”
In 2012, Sumlin went 11-2. The Aggies beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa and destroyed Oklahoma, 41-13, in the Cotton Bowl.
It’s been all downhill from there, relatively speaking, with finishes of 9-4, 8-5, 8-5, and 8-5.
“Kevin Sumlin is the victim of his own success,” Neuheisel said. “Unfortunately for him, he won 11 games and had a Heisman Trophy quarterback in Year One of his tenure at A&M. In Year One in the SEC, they beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and the folks in College Station ended up putting up millions and millions and millions of dollars to do stadium renovations and they were all ready to take over the crown of college football. And now they’ve gone back to probably where they should be in winning eight games a year after moving from the Big 12 to the SEC – but they did it backwards and have gone from the mountaintop back down. So there’s kind of a ‘What have you done for me lately?’ feeling in College Station. It’s put a lot of pressure on that coaching staff.”
Especially since the Aggies don’t have a quarterback. Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel are vying for the starting job.
Both are freshmen.
“You really don’t have enough reps in fall camp to get both guys ready,” Neuheisel said. “They’re going to have to make a decision and make a decision early if they’re going to be successful in their opener against UCLA.”
Indeed, the Aggies don’t open with a cupcake. They open at UCLA on Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Bruins went 4-8 last season but should be much-improved with a healthy Josh Rosen.
Said Neuheisel, “I don’t think there’s a more pivotal game in college football in the opening weekend than the UCLA/Texas A&M game as it pertains to the livelihood of the two coaches, Jim Mora and Kevin Sumlin.”