The Texas A&M football program has been led by Kevin Sumlin to surprising early success in the Southeastern Conference. Sumlin has begun to mold the Aggie program in his image, and he is going to stay in College Station to finish the job.
The Aggies shocked the nation with an 11-2 season and a top-five finish in 2012. Defensive issues have resulted in an 8-3 record in 2013, but the future is bright with such a young roster.
Sumlin is in the right place at the right time. This is a look at why he will stay at A&M and continue to build it into a national champion.
Texas A&M is in the process of renovating Kyle Field to where it will seat 102,500 fans. It will be one of the best, if not the best college stadium in the country.
When the seats became available for the expanded Kyle Field, the Aggie fans snapped them all up. The expanded Kyle Field is sold out before a game has ever been played there.
Football fans at Texas A&M are simply more passionate than the ones at USC. As a coach, you want to coach where people care about your sport. When it comes to attendance and passion for the game, there is no question that A&M is the better place to be.
The SEC is rightfully considered the toughest conference in all of college football. It has produced the past seven national champions.
When the NCAA goes to a four-team playoff in 2014, how your conference is perceived will matter greatly. The SEC will likely be able to get two teams into the playoffs in most years.
The dominance of the conference will continue. The SEC had the most players selected in the 2013 NFL draft. Recruits see this, and they want to play against the top competition and where they will have the best shot of making the NFL.
This has resulted in the SEC dominating the recruiting rankings. Whether you trust in the rankings or not, the fact that so many SEC programs are getting their top choices at each position has to be a good sign.
With the advent of the SEC Network in 2014, the SEC program will receive even more television revenue. This will result in the SEC programs having more money to hire the top coaches and build the best facilities.
All this means that if you are a member of the SEC, you do not necessarily have to win the league to qualify for the NCAA's four-team playoff.
If you coach at A&M, you can have one loss on your record and still make the playoffs. That is not the case at USC.
The cost of living and working in California is much more expensive than living and working in Texas. With the boost in salary to his contemporaries like Art Briles at Baylor and the interest from other schools, Sumlin should expect to receiver a raise after this season.
Sumlin is currently the seventh-highest paid coach in the SEC at $3.1 million per year. With Briles making over $4 million per year, it is reasonable to expect Sumlin to receive a $1 million raise to at least $4.1 million per year.
If Sumlin were to make $4.1 million per year in College Station, he would need to make $6.8 million per year at USC to receive the same compensation. A dollar goes a lot farther in Aggieland because of the higher taxes and cost of living in Los Angeles.
There is a common misconception that this is all about money, and that USC will make Sumlin an offer he cannot refuse. Whatever USC offers, A&M can match and then some.
The excitement over the move to the SEC led to A&M setting a school record with $740 million raised in the past year. If it comes down to an issue of money and who can pay the head coach and the assistants more, A&M has more of it and its former students donate more of it.
If the recruiting rankings are to be trusted, A&M has a brighter future on the field than USC because it has more talent in the pipeline. Sumlin's first recruiting class at A&M ranked in the top 10, ahead of USC which finished at No. 16.
Sumlin is bringing in another top-10 class in 2014, while USC is not currently ranked among the top 50 classes. Texas A&M resides in the best state in the country for producing college football players.
It has an inherent advantage over all the other in-state schools in that it is the only school in Texas that plays in the SEC. That recruiting advantage should not be overlooked when it comes to recruiting in the state that produces more FBS football players than any other.
USC does not have 85 scholarship players on campus as a result of NCAA-imposed penalties for rules violations under Pete Carroll. Sumlin is two years into the process of building A&M into a national power. Why would he want to go to USC where he would have to start all over?
Texas A&M is in a better place as a program, in a better conference than USC is. There is nothing that USC can offer Sumlin that A&M cannot match or exceed.