Mac Engel

Will USC lure Kevin Sumlin away from College Station?

Success at Texas A&M has landed coach Kevin Sumlin on USC’s radar.
Success at Texas A&M has landed coach Kevin Sumlin on USC’s radar. AP

The following will be unpopular for those who wear purple and white, green and gold or red and black, and it may burn the eyes of those who wear burnt orange. Doing the right thing is not always easy, but on Saturday we all wear maroon and white.

No matter how much you hate Texas A&M and your roots demand that you revile Reveille, on Saturday afternoon at the House that Johnny Built, we must put aside our differences. Coach Nick Satan (sorry, it’s Saban) and the University of Alabama are coming to play the Aggies, and there is the small matter of state pride at stake.

No. 9 Texas A&M against No. 10 Alabama is not just about the SEC West standings. This is about Texans, and specifically Texas football players, against the rest of the world.

Now that the Aggies are firmly entrenched in the SEC, and just as apt to finish second or third in that conference as they were in the Big 12, we should all embrace their chance to validate Texas football against the mighty Southeast. For everybody who firmly believes the best football and the best football players come from the Southeast, we need to win games like this.

While we are at it, whether it is A&M, Baylor or TCU, we need a national title, and that starts with the Aggies smacking the Tide in College Station. (FYI: Our good friends in Vegas have the Tide as 4.5 favorites.)

Since 1970, the great state a’ Texas has produced two national titles in big-boy college football — Texas tied for first with Ohio State and Nebraska in 1970, and the Longhorns won it all with Vince Young in 2005.

That’s it. And that’s pathetic. We are better than that.

TCU finished No. 2 in 2010, and Texas was second in 2009. In those seasons, a team from Alabama finished No. 1 both times.

A&M last won a national title during the memorable season of 1939, when only white people were allowed to play. And then in 2012, the Aggies awarded themselves national titles in 1919 and 1927, also when major college football was a whites-only affair.

(Personally, with all due respect to the late Sammy Baugh and other great players of yesteryear, I’m no fan of titles before integration because, well, they’re a joke.)

As good as the Aggies have been over the years, their distinct lack of top-tier success is the only reason why coach Kevin Sumlin should consider the recent opening at USC.

The firing of coach Steve Sarkisian has created the rare top-five vacancy, and those “coaching lists” that scare alumni bases at about five to 10 schools. Aggies hate reading that their guy is attached to the rumor mill, specifically because it means there is a place that could be better than the school and team that they love like family.

Sorry, Northgate, Dixie Chicken and the other fine fun spots in Aggieland, but Los Angeles is greater than College Station.

When USC calls, you don’t let it go to voice mail.

If you believe those stupid, often inaccurate recruiting rankings, Sumlin has had tremendous success attracting top-level athletes from Texas, Louisiana, Arizona and a handful of other places. Imagine the damage he could do in LA.

A head coach at USC can win national titles. USC has won six national titles since ’67.

The last coach to win a national title at A&M was Homer H. Norton. Paul “Bear” Bryant could never win a national title in College Station. The only losing season The Bear ever had in his career was with the Aggies in 1954. Two years later, however, the losing team that was built in Junction finished fifth nationally.

Two years after that, The Bear went to Alabama, where he won six national titles.

Would Sumlin walk away from a job that pays him more than $5 million a year? Probably not, but his agent would not be doing his job if he didn’t maybe encourage a chat with USC AD Pat Haden, who is desperately trying to keep his job, too. Mr. Haden needs to nail this next hire after blowing it with Sarkisian.

The Aggies offer everything from wonderful people and great facilities to an affiliation with the SEC. What they don’t have is any history of winning national titles.

For that matter, our state’s history of winning it all is far too limited.

The Aggies, Bears and Frogs all still have a shot to do it. It would help if the Tide gets got Saturday, which means, for at least a little while, we are all Aggies.


Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Mac Engel: 817-390-7697, @macengelprof

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