When Texas A&M annouced Thursday night that it had fired head coach Mike Sherman, the decision was very in-line with why the Astros let Ed Wade go last week.
The Aggies needed something better than average to win in the SEC.
That's why Mike Sherman was let go; his record was just average. No matter that he made strides in recruiting. No matter that he installed a good offense and finally got some high-profile draft picks back in the pipeline.
He wasn't good enough.
But, the problem with Sherman goes further than that. This season, Texas A&M had a chance to take advantage of a down-on-their-luck Texas team a surprisingly vulnerable Oklahoma team and could have beaten both Oklahoma State and Arkansas.
But, he didn't and he didn't do it with a very talented group of seniors. If he can't win more than six games in the Big 12 this season, how's he going to do next year with a rebuilding Aggie team in the SEC?
As much as I dislike the move (since no one better will walk along), the Aggies at least are trying for something better than average.
I wonder, though, whether they can get that. The guys being considered now are hot names. Kevin Sumlin certainly has been on a hot list after what he has accomplished at Houston. Add to that Art Briles' success at Baylor and Houston has become a great proving ground for coaches in the last few years.
It's not the SEC, though. Sumlin (or any other unseasoned coach) will struggle in his first season. The roster won't be very friendly to a coach coming in. There's talent there, but not enough on defense and the Aggies will be starting a third quarterback in three years.
Is there a Gene Chizik out there? Some coach who failed but knows the SEC and can come in to get A&M pointed in the right direction? None of the names mentioned have that kind of cache. Kirby Smart comes closest, but has still never run his own program. The Aggies would be taking a risk. Can they afford to?
Recruiting at Texas A&M isn't easy. You have to convince someone not to go to Texas, which is in a bigger city and has a better track record, and not to go to Oklahoma, which has a better track record. They've got to fend off upstart programs like Baylor and Houston and now, they have to even convince people not to go to Stillwater.
Oh, and you better believe that LSU will be coming after recruits hard now in Texas.
So, a new coach needs to be smart, confident, a great recruiter and, above all, they need to win. That's all.
That's what got R.C. Slocum fired. That's what got Dennis Franchione shown the door and that's why Mike Sherman is now unemployed.That cycle will continue unless the Aggies can win games and then win some more.
Changing the culture at A&M is as easy as winning. Jackie Sherrill did it illegally, but he set up a winning attitude and culture that R.C. Slocum used to run a clean, winning program. Can Sumlin, Smart or anyone else do that? If they win 10 games in consecutive seasons, they'll be on the right track.