Sitting on one of the hottest seats in all of college football, Aggies’ head coach Kevin Sumlin spoke last on Day Three of SEC Media Days. After being called out by his own athletic director back in the Destin Spring meetings, he was not without questions on job security.
One topic in particular has been a common theme this week, and it did not get past Coach Sumlin: the dominance of Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide.
The question was poised around the dominance, and whether or not it puts pressure on other coaches in the Southeastern Conference to win up to a certain standard.
“I don’t know that its pressure,” Sumlin said, “in just about every league…you go through a time when one team is really the mark. The consistency of that program over the years did not come overnight. I think people understand that, but you can’t argue that that is the mark.”
Despite coming into Tuscaloosa with an unblemished 6-0 record last season, the Aggies were topped for the fourth-straight time. Their last win against the Tide came in 2012 when Johnny Manziel put on a Heisman-esque performance to lead his Aggies to a shocking upset. Their last four losses, however, have been by a combined 103 points.
“You can win a lot of games [in the West],” Sumlin continued, “but then that one can take a toll on you. I think it took its toll on us the last couple of years, as a matter of fact. We’ve got to do a better job of handling things mentally.”
It is no secret that Sumlin needs to win this season, and that his teams have struggled mightily following losses to Alabama regardless of when in the season they take place. The road to win the West usually runs through the Alabama Crimson Tide, so if Sumlin is to cool down the seat beneath him he will need a victory over the Tide in 2017.
Pressure or no, his days are limited and you can hear the countdown timer. It is time to put up or shut up, as they say.