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With Rumors About Southern Cal Swirling, A&M’s Sumlin Isn’t Talking

kevin-sumlin-atm-shirt-smileLast week The Los Angeles Daily News reported that Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin “has emerged as the top target” in Southern Cal’s job search.  Scott Wolf wrote that there “could be a bidding war” for Sumlin “after the season and he might even draw interest from NFL teams.”

NFL interest will depend in large part with how Chip Kelly’s first year with the Philadelphia Eagles (currently 5-5) finishes up.

Whatever interest is out there, you can expect the Aggies’ coach to play thing close to the vest.  When it comes to coaching rumors, close to the vest is best for the wallet.

As Brent Zwerneman of The Houston Chronicle points out today, Sumlin isn’t talking about the Southern Cal gig, literally.  “I’m not talking about that.  I’m talking about LSU,” he said when asked about the Trojans’ job.  back in October — when the trap door opened beneath Lane Kiffin’s feet — A&M’s second-year coach had this to say about USC West’s potential interest: “That means you’re winning and doing things the right way.”

Sumlin has gone from a general comment to no comment at all.  Why?  Probably because last week’s story out of LA also noted that Southern Cal, as a private school with huge cash reserves, could possibly double the coach’s salary.  He currently makes $3.1 million at A&M.  Maybe the idea of double his pay and becoming the highest-paid coach in the country has left Sumlin to stunned to speak.

The reality, of course, is that coaches are themselves coached on these matters by their agents.  “Stay quiet, let interest build, and I’ll swing you more cash where you are or at the other place.”  It works for athletic directors as well.  In the last two weeks Arkansas AD Jeff Long has gone from a Texas AD candidate, to not interested, to a man with a new signing bonus, bigger salary and bigger buyout.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand leverage.

Southern Cal AD Pat Haden is reportedly interested in several other candidates as well:

 

*  Jon Gruden — the master of leverage who conveniently stated last month that he’d like to give coaching one more shot

*  Chris Petersen — he’s turned down darn near every job in the country to stay in Boise State, but this year’s struggles may lead him to finally look aroun

*  Jack Del Rio — at ex-Trojan player who’s currently serving as the Denver Broncos’ interim coach

*  Ed Orgeron — don’t look now, but the former Ole Miss head coach has turned around Southern Cal’s season since taking over in the interim (though his reputation and USC’s history of NCAA scandals make his hiring a long shot)

*  James Franklin — with wins over Georgia and Florida his star is once again on the rise

 

But none of those guys would provide all that Sumlin brings: a proven offensive scheme that can bring quick turnarounds, an upbeat personality that plays well with the press, the ability to take advantage of a deep recruiting base, and a winning track record in the college ranks.

So would Sumlin trade A&M’s oil money for Southern Cal’s Hollywood cash?  Initially, we didn’t think so.  Texas A&M has the potential — facilities, money, recruiting base — to run with any program in America.  When the Aggies entered the league we said they were sitting on a potential gold mine.  Well, Sumlin clearly brought a pick axe and some panning trays with him to College Station.

But Southern Cal is one of those five to 10 schools in the country with a wow kind of name.  Forget the records or current woes, when you say Southern Cal or Texas or Ohio State or Notre Dame or Alabama to a coach, they drool.  Plus, the path to the national championship would figure to be easier in the Pac-12, especially with a new selection committee and playoff on the way.

At Southern Cal, Sumlin would have to get through Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah and UCLA in the Pac-12 South.  With the right record his squad would then get to host the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Compare that to A&M’s path to glory: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State a couple more teams from the SEC East and a title game in Atlanta.  Aggie fans were talking national titles this season but they’ve already got two division losses with Les Miles’ Tigers up next.  Yes, the SEC is a beast.

Still, we aren’t convinced Sumlin would actually jump from Texas to California if given the chance.  We do believe, however, that he’ll be a richer man in 2014 regardless of where he’s coaching.  That’s what Southern Cal’s mere interest — and his silence — will do for him.

 


5 comments
RoadTrip
RoadTrip

Easier to recruit to USCe than it is to aTm - not as many top choices on the west coast for the great players plus add in the LA scene. If the money works I could see it happening as it is unlikely the Aggies will be able to remain competitive against Bama, Auburn and LSU year in and out in the west. But as a Vol fan I think it would be wonderful to see Gruden get the job. Talk about melt downs on Rocky Top! lol.  

the_voice
the_voice

No better time to leave than as Manziel walks out the door. His QB next year won't be the savior for his sorry defense.

Tmaggie85
Tmaggie85

So this is what football success looks like!  A&M usually fires or coaches resign. 

Ag In FM
Ag In FM

If it comes down strictly to money, A&M's advantage is in take home pay. USC will have to pay 40% more just to equal Sumlin's  TX salary because of taxes in CA. Texas has no state tax, lower property taxes and lower sales tax. Cost of living is much less. So $6 million in California is the same as $4.3 million in Texas. The Aggies have the resources to go much higher so if you are only looking at cash, advantage A&M.

the_voice
the_voice

@Ag In FM All true. Having said that, where are you able to dominate your conference better? Looked at dispassionately, where would you prefer to live? Pete Carroll had a pretty good gig going.

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