For Texas A&M Football, the Road Ahead Is Paved for Success

Jeff ShullAnalyst IJanuary 12, 2010

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 26: Quarterback Jerrod Johnson #1 of the Texas A&M Aggies against the Texas Longhorns in the second half at Kyle Field on November 26, 2009 in College Station, Texas. The Longhorns defeated the Aggies 49-39 (Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images)
Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images

Well, I've had a chance to digest my holiday treats and the up and down Texas A&M Aggie football roller coaster of a season (in that order), and the following are just my thoughts and opinions on the direction of the program.

The feeling of many is that head coach Mike Sherman should have produced better results on the field by now, considering he has some pretty good athletes.

Much of the fanbase has called for Sherman's head as a result of lofty expectations and improbable standards of success.

The bottom line is there should be at least a four-year window of evaluation, during which time several things should be taken into account other than the success on the field.

College football has as much to do with being a leader and motivator as it does being someone able to take the grind of the offseason recruiting.

Sherman should be commended for the job he has done recruiting. He had a top 25 recruiting class last year that included offensive playmakers Christine Michael and Uzoma Nwachukwu, as well as defensive tackle Chris Henderson.

The fall class of 2010 should be at the very least a top 15 recruiting class, and if they get any other top recruits, they could sneak up to top 10.

If you would like to get an in-depth look at this year's recruiting class, you can check out the recruiting articles here. They are split up into one with just the offensive linemen and another with just the top-tier skill position players.

Not only is the current coaching staff getting better recruits, they are getting top-notch players at key positions as well.

Under coach Dennis Franchione, the program emphasized getting players at skill positions and neglected to recruit top-notch offensive and defensive linemen. It was the nature of his offensive beast, the option read, that he did not really need great linemen.

He did have a few pretty good defensive linemen, but only Chris Harrington amounted to anything.

In my Big 12 South Preview, I mention how the 2010 season will make or break Sherman's tenure at the school. If he fails to win more than seven games, he will probably be shown the door. 

Coming off a decade like the '90s, the 2000s were anything but enjoyable for A&M fans. It seemed like every other year was supposed to be the year the Ags returned to glory, only to falter in the big games.

Even the best season of the decade left a foul taste in our mouths. In 2006, after losing three Big 12 games by a combined six points (two by one point), as well as beating the Longhorns in Austin, the Aggies were embarrassed 45-10 in the Holiday Bowl at the hands of the Cal Bears.

They had 17 returning starters the following year, and Kirk Herbstreit even picked them as a sleeper top five team. What happened? They finished 7-5 and fourth in the Big 12 South, and Coach Fran resigned amidst a scandal with the athletic boosters.

There is not going to be a better time for Mike Sherman to turn this team around than in 2010. They have Oklahoma and Texas Tech at home next year, Texas will be starting a true sophomore at quarterback, Nebraska is losing its best defensive player and Kansas is losing Todd Reesing.

I have been patient with Sherman because of the job he has done in recruiting, but if he fails to produce results on the field, I'm afraid he will suffer the consequences sooner rather than later.