The only certainty surrounding Texas A&M heading into 2016 is uncertainty, and the main culprit people are pointing toward for A&M’s downward spiral is coach Kevin Sumlin.
Sumlin didn’t provide many answers in a 27-21 loss to Louisville in the Music City Bowl on Wednesday. The Aggies looked overwhelmed at times and competent at others, but their finest moments weren’t enough to mount an improbable comeback.
The Aggies finished the season losing five of their final eight games after starting the season 5-0. Quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray abandoned the program earlier in December for unknown reasons. The Music City Bowl loss epitomized a terrible conclusion to a once promising season.
Another brutal loss for Texas A&M. Just a dreadful end of the season for Kevin Sumlin.
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) December 31, 2015
Some pundits even diminished what Texas A&M accomplished this season because most of those eight victories came against sub-par opponents.
5-0 start, top-10 ranking to 3-5 finish with wins over Vandy, 3-9 So Carolina, Western Carolina. Just facts here.
— Billy Liucci (@billyliucci) December 31, 2015
TAMU's wins: Az St, 6-6 Ball St. 3-9 Nevada, 7-6 Arkansas 7-5 Miss. St, 9-4 South Car. 3-9 Vandy, 4-8 WCU 4-8 FCS Total: 43-55 #GigEm
— Zane Ellis (@ZaneMoneyEllis) December 31, 2015
The way 2015 ended likely means that Sumlin’s seat atop A&M’s program could start to get a little bit toasty. Some analysts said Sumlin will start the season with his job in jeopardy.
The seat warmer in Kevin Sumlin's swag copter is officially on high.
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) December 31, 2015
Sumlin begins '16 on the hot seat. Better find a QB in a hurry.
— Matt Mosley (@mattmosley) December 31, 2015
This offseason will be a pivotal one for Sumlin. The biggest item on his to-do list will be to find the quarterback that will create stability at the position for the first time since the ultimate improviser, Johnny Manziel, took the program to new heights just two seasons ago. Jake Hubenak didn’t solidify the starter’s job in an erratic, but decent performance. Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight could be a temporary option, but might not buy Sumlin enough time to recruit or develop the quarterback of the future.
If Sumlin can’t find his next Johnny Football, or anything close to him, he could be out of a job by 2017.