It seems only a matter of time before Texas A&M fires football coach Kevin Sumlin. With the Aggies treading water at 5-4, Sumlin’s days in College Station are numbered, according to multiple reports.
Since going 11-2 and 6-2 in the Southeastern Conference in 2012, his first season with the Aggies, Sumlin is 18-20 in the SEC. That won’t cut it for A&M.
So who can get the job done and help return A&M to respectability in the toughest league in the nation? Here are some possibilities:
Chad Morris, SMU: In three seasons, he’s turned the Mustangs into a bowl-eligible team. The former Clemson offensive coordinator and quarterback coach is a Texas native who has deep high school ties throughout the state.
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Jimbo Fisher, Florida State: A proven winner who has won at least 10 games in six of his previous seven seasons with the Seminoles, although that streak will end this season. He has a national championship in 2013 and has SEC ties with a stint as LSU’s OC from 2000-06.
Chip Kelly: Forget Kelly’s struggles in the NFL, he’s a proven winner at the college level. His Oregon teams went 46-7 from 2009-12. His offensive prowess could be the recruiting tool to help offset expected decommitments with Sumlin’s departure.
James Franklin, Penn State: He’s helped return the Nittany Lions to national prominence, including 7-2 this season. The Aggies might see that as their blueprint. He has SEC history with a very respectable three-year tenure at Vanderbilt in which his teams went 9-4 in 2012 and ’13.
Mike Leach, Washington State: Perhaps the former Texas Tech coach would be interested in returning to Texas only to have a louder voice in his fight to recoup salary he claims the Red Raiders owe him from his 2009 firing. He was Kentucky’s OC in 1997-98. Maybe Leach’s unconventional style is the change the Aggies need.
Matt Campbell, Iowa State: The 37-year-old has turned the Cyclones around in his second season with upsets over Oklahoma and TCU. Campbell, however, is still mostly unproven, especially in a massive program such as A&M. The Aggies want to win and win big and Campbell has yet to win more than nine games in his five full seasons as head coach, including four years at Toledo.