After two epic second-half collapses by Texas A&M, there are undoubtedly going to be questions about Mike Sherman and his ability to motivate and properly guide his team through an admittedly tough part of the Aggies' schedule.
While it's probably too early to determine the eventual outcome for the 2011 Aggies, one can't escape the fact that since taking over Texas A&M's football team in 2008, Sherman now has a record of 21-21.
That's probably not the kind of record the Aggie faithful were looking for when Sherman was hired to replace Dennis Franchione. Instead of a turnaround, the Aggies have endured more of the same (Franchione was 32-28 at Texas A&M).
Now, the conversation inevitably turns to “if not Sherman, then who?”
Let's try to figure that out. Here are five coaches that make more sense for Texas A&M than Mike Sherman.
Okay, so the whole Michigan thing didn't turn out so well.
But looking back, is that really a surprise? Rich Rodriguez took a traditional Big Ten powerhouse program that is known for being a prototypical Big Ten team and tried to turn it into a high-octane, high-flying spread offense that slings the ball all over the field.
News flash: that's not an easy process, and even if it is successful, it takes a heck of a lot longer to pull off than the three years U-M gave Rich Rod.
There's also a kind of snootiness that pervades everything Michigan does. Rich Rodriguez's folksy demeanor and optional grammar never seemed to sit well with the Michigan alumni. Prior to Rich Rodriguez, who was the last U-M coach to say “I'm tickled pink” at a press conference? Can you image Bo Schembechler saying that?
Didn't think so.
Texas A&M, while undoubtedly a top academic institution, is a little less “Ivy League” and a little more “Texas tough” than Ann Arbor. Suffice it to say that Rich Rodriguez's personality would probably be a better mesh with those in the Lone Star State than those in the Great Lakes State.
There's also the type of offense Rich Rodriguez likes to run. With the wealth of talented recruits in Texas that could thrive in a spread attack, and the bonus of SEC recruits now being tapped by A&M, it's not inconceivable to imagine Rich Rodriguez bringing success back to Texas A&M.
If there's one coach who knows what it takes to win in the SEC, it's Urban Meyer.
After crashing the BCS party in 2004 as the head coach at Utah, Meyer left the Utes to take over the mighty Florida Gators in 2005.
In Gainesville, Meyer guided the Gators to two BCS titles while amassing a 65-15 record (36-13 in the SEC).
It's unknown if Meyer has any ambitions to return to coaching after leaving Florida after the 2010 season citing family and health reasons.
Surprisingly enough, Meyer soon took a position with ESPN, which ironically had him away from home almost as much during the season as a head coaching job.
Meyer's name has been mentioned as a possible replacement for the departed Jim Tressel at Ohio State (Meyer is an Ohio native). If he's good enough for Ohio State, he's good enough for Texas A&M.
Meyer is also one of the greatest spread offense coaches in the country, and his unique coaching skills combined with his history of winning in the SEC has to make him an attractive candidate for any program.
Art Briles is a coach that is rapidly moving up most Coach of the Year watch lists for 2011.
His Baylor Bears have been improving since he took over in 2008, and so far this season, Briles has his Bears off to an impressive 3-1 start, and it looks as if another bowl game is in the offing for Baylor.
Briles is another Texas guy, having coached at Houston for five years before taking over the Baylor gig. He's shown his ability to recruit and build programs out of next to nothing. With the resources he'd have at his disposal at Texas A&M, there's little question he would be a success.
Gary Patterson is a successful head coach with a 101-29 career record, and he also knows the ins and outs of Texas recruiting.
What more could you ask for in a head coach?
Since taking over at TCU for the 2000 Mobile Alabama Bowl, Patterson has compiled nine bowl trips in his nine full years coaching TCU—the last two bowls of the BCS variety.
The past three seasons his Horned Frogs have finished the year ranked in the Top 10 of both major polls, and in 2010, TCU was the final No. 2 team in the nation with a 13-0 record and a Rose Bowl championship as well.
Patterson has shown to be intensely loyal to TCU, but sooner or later, the lure of big money and conference reshuffling could have even the most locked-in coaches reassessing their options.
No, it's not as crazy as it sounds.
Mike Leach was 84-43 as head coach at Texas Tech—far outpacing the latest two coaches for Texas A&M.
Mike Leach never failed to guide his program to a bowl game. Sherman can't say the same.
Mike Leach finished the last three seasons at Tech. Sherman can't say the same.
Mike Leach had the Red Raiders ranked in the final AP poll five of his last six years. Sherman has done that only once.
There's really no question that Leach was an effective coach at Texas Tech, and the circumstances surrounding his dismissal make Texas Tech administrators look much worse than Leach. In fact, as more and more comes out about the situation involving ESPN talking head Craig James and his son, Leach is beginning to look like the only innocent individual in the whole saga.
Plus, there's the added benefit for Texas A&M of really sticking it to Texas Tech.
And what better way to announce to the world that you're over Mike Sherman than by hiring his arch nemesis, Mike Leach?