You don’t need to look any further than Texas A&M Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin to demonstrate how ridiculous the expectations can be for a college football program in the mighty SEC. Sumlin has done some good things in his short tenure with the Aggies, but unless he starts to win big and win now, things may not work out for him in College Station.
2016 will be Sumlin’s fifth season at the helm of the Aggies. He holds a 36-16 record during his time there, but for some reason, in the nation’s toughest football conference, this is seen by just about every team as a reason to put a coach on the hot seat.
Things got off to a spectacular start in 2012 as the Aggies finished with an 11-2 record that was highlighted by a 29-24 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. That was supposed to be the launching pad for better days. Sumlin was a likeable coach, top-ranked recruits were coming in and playing in the SEC brought the program constant attention.
Unfortunately for Sumlin, those better days didn’t come. They dropped to 9-4 in 2013. Then in 2014, things got off to a spectacular start as the Aggies dismantled the South Carolina Gamecocks, who at that time were the ninth-ranked team in the country, on national television. They got off to a 5-0 start before losing steam and dropping five conference games, and ending the 2014 campaign with an 8-5 record.
As 2015 progressed, it just felt that whatever momentum the Aggies had was gone. They manufactured the same 8-5 record they had the year before, but they were losing to the traditional powers of the SEC West, and losing badly. The Aggies were no longer continuing their ascension to the top of the conference. They were ordinary. The problem: Ordinary will get a coach fired in the SEC. Truthfully, being an above average coach could be seen as unacceptable
Sumlin is that above average coach. Make no mistake about it. He has an overall record of 71-33 and has gone 4-2 in bowls. You’d like to think that would be good enough to give him some job security, but everybody knows football is a “what have you done for me lately” profession. You never really can tell.