It’s been a rough last few months both on and off the field for Kevin Sumlin.
Earlier in the offseason, the Texas A&M head coach’s boss very publicly put Sumlin on the hot seat entering the 2017 season. Then Sunday, following an embarrassing come-from-ahead loss to UCLA, a university went on a social media rant, very publicly calling for the immediate firing.
Predictably, Sumlin was asked about the growing calls for his job in general and the regent’s rant specifically. Just as predictably, Sumlin was measured in his response.
“People are frustrated. I’m frustrated about a lot of things,” Sumlin said by way of ESPN.com. “I’m not real happy. I’m sure there are a lot of things being said about this program.
“Our focus is on us. That never changes. I’m not in the business of really paying attention to anything outside this program, or comments good or bad. My focus is on what we can do to be better. I don’t really have time to get involved in things that are said about the program or about me.”
In 2012, the first season for both Sumlin in College Station and the Aggies in the SEC, A&M went 11-2 overall and 6-2 in conference play. Since then, they’ve gone a middling 33-20 and, more importantly, just 15-17 in the league. More to the point, the Aggies have finished fourth, sixth, fifth and fourth the past four seasons in the even-more hyper-competitive SEC West. An even finer point? They are 9-15 against divisional foes in the same span.
Should the trend of mediocrity continue, it won’t just be a lone regent calling for Sumlin’s head on a platter by season’s end.
Saquon Barkley is incredible. The Penn State running back is every bit a deserving Heisman front-runner, what with his 66 carries for 518 yards and four touchdowns, his team-leading 23 grabs for 335 yards and two touchdowns, and his 22.86-yard average on seven kickoff returns. This isn’t a criticism of him.
But I want to introduce an idea to you right now, and I want you to take a deep breath first: it’s possible Barkley is not having the best season of any running back in college football. At least not to this point.
Take a look at Stanford’s Bryce Love‘s first four games:
- 13 carries for 180 yards and a touchdown in a 62-7 destruction of Rice
- 17 carries for 160 yards and a touchdown in a 42-24 loss to USC
- 13 carries for 184 yards and two scores in a 20-17 loss to San Diego State
- 30 carries for 263 yards and a touchdown in last night’s 58-34 defeat of UCLA
Add it all up and you get 73 carries for 787 yards and five touchdowns, which not only means Love leads the nation in rushing yards per game — he leads the nation in rushing while averaging 10.78 yards per carry.
Love not only leads the nation in total rushing yards, he not only leads the nation in rushing yards per game, he leads the nation in yards per carry for all players anywhere in the neighborhood his carry total. Four players rank ahead of Love in yards per carry thus far, and those three players have toted the rock 76 times — combined.
The next closest player on the yards per carry rankings with at least 70 rushes is San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, who averages 7.87 yards on 91 carries. That’s an incredible number, and still 27 percent lower than Love’s average.
Stanford may not win enough for Love to join Barkley in the Heisman conversation, but right now it appears the two running back spots on every All-American team are locked up until further notice.
Big wins over ranked opponents pushed Georgia and TCU into the top 10 of the latest Associated Press poll, released Sunday. Voters were apparently more impressed with Georgia’s 31-3 whipping of then-No. 17 Mississippi State in Athens than they were of TCU’s 44-31 upset of then-No. 6 Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Georgia moved up four spots while TCU jumped seven, but the Bulldogs remained ahead of the Frogs by two spots, No. 7 to No. 9.
Elsewhere, Washington creeped forward one spot, Washington State and Louisville nudged forward two, and South Florida, San Diego State and Utah leaped three spots forward. Notre Dame and West Virginia returned to this week’s poll at Nos. 22 and 23, replacing upset losers Florida State and Oregon. Unlike the Coaches’ Poll, voters remembered that Mississippi State hammered LSU by 30 points just eight days ago, keeping the Bulldogs one spot ahead of the Bayou Bengals.
The full poll:
- Alabama — 1,515 total points (52 first-place votes)
- Clemson — 1,458 (2)
- Oklahoma — 1,397 (1)
- Penn State — 1,304
- USC — 1,247
- Washington — 1,188
- Georgia — 1,136
- Michigan — 1,088
- TCU — 1,028
- Wisconsin — 1,023
- Ohio State — 1,016
- Virginia Tech — 828
- Auburn — 701
- Miami — 693
- Oklahoma State — 665
- Washington State — 551
- Louisville — 502
- South Florida — 406
- San Diego State — 365
- Utah — 356
- Florida — 342
- Notre Dame — 246
- West Virginia — 212
- Mississippi State — 148
- LSU — 92
The more irrelevant of college football’s two exhibition polls is out following Week 4 action, and it’s not radically different from last week’s edition. Georgia and TCU were this week’s biggest movers, jumping four spots apiece for their respective wins over then-No. 17 Mississippi State and then-No. 7 Oklahoma State. Each of the losers of those games dropped seven spots, Oklahoma State to No. 14 and Mississippi State to No. 24, which is somehow two spots behind an LSU team that these Bulldogs absolutely hammered just eight days ago.
Mississippi State remains one spot ahead of Florida State, who somehow edged out Notre Dame for the final spot despite losing to unranked NC State at home. West Virginia returned to the poll at No. 23, taking the place of Oregon, who fell out after falling 37-35 at Arizona State.
The full poll:
- Alabama — 1,570 total points (59 first-place votes)
- Clemson — 1,499 (4)
- Oklahoma — 1,443
- Penn State — 1,328
- USC — 1,306
- Washington — 1,277
- Michigan — 1,152
- Georgia — 1,089
- Ohio State — 1,066
- Wisconsin — 1,029
- TCU — 985
- Virginia Tech — 877
- Miami — 727
- Oklahoma State — 687
- Auburn — 664
- Washington State — 574
- South Florida — 522
- Louisville — 505
- Utah — 437
- Florida — 345
- San Diego State — 315
- LSU — 221
- West Virginia — 184
- Mississippi State — 132
- Florida State — 104
The SEC conference office isn’t supposed to take sides, but deep down the league had to be rooting for Texas A&M to beat Arkansas yesterday.
In the second quarter, Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond took off for what should have been an 89-yard touchdown scamper to bring his Aggies to within 21-14. Except the side judge incorrectly ruled him out of bounds, mistaking his white cleat of Arkansas defensive back Josh Liddell. It was a human error mistake that no one could do anything about once it happened.
Texas A&M settled for a field goal on the drive, losing four points that should have been theirs. Sure, it wasn’t the refs’ fault that the Aggies couldn’t cash in a first-and-goal from the 10-yard line, but that isn’t A&M’s problem. Mond ran into the end zone without being brought down or stepping out of bounds.
The point, thankfully, became moot hours later when Mond and his charges completed the comeback, winning 50-43 in overtime.
Still, the SEC office on Sunday acknowledged the mistake and that there was nothing anyone could do about it.
“On the play at 10:02 in the second quarter of the Arkansas vs. Texas A&M game, the ball carrier was incorrectly ruled out of bounds and the play whistled dead by the official.
“Based on NCAA football playing rule 12-3-3-g, ‘If the ball carrier is ruled out of bounds, the play is not reviewable.”
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if the NCAA can change the rule on plays such as this. Rules makers adapted to add a clear recovery clause in which a fumble is prematurely blown dead, and the play above shows that Liddell kept trying to tackle Mond even after Mond was incorrectly ruled out of bounds. So why not just allow the touchdown to stand?