Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/23/11

Texas A&M is not a bad football team.

In fact, even though the Aggies are sporting a 6-5 record heading into their season finale Thursday night with despised rival Texas, we're talking about a team that is much better than average. Four of A&M's five losses have come by less than a touchdown or less. Four have come at the hands of teams ranked in the top 15 of the latest BCS standings. Two games were lost in overtime.

No, the Aggies aren't bad. They just haven't been good enough.

The problem, of course, is that this is the year coach Mike Sherman's team was supposed to be much better than "good enough." Coming off a hot finish to 2010, A&M started the season in the top 10 in both major polls and was widely considered a dark horse contender for the national title. Much like UCLA, Clemson, etc., the Aggies find themselves on those preseason lists of possible "breakout teams" pretty much annually. The difference now is that the Aggies were supposed to have broken out last year and broken into the ranks of the national elite this season.


Instead, Sherman is getting the dreaded vote of confidence from nerdy A&M president R. Bowen Loftin as the school's administration prepares to enter the SEC in 2012.

By stomping the Longhorns on Thanksgiving night, which is entirely possible, Sherman would give the A&M faithful a nice chance to play the "up yours" card to UT fans. It would undoubtedly turn the burner down on whatever heat Sherman may be feeling at the moment.

Should it, though?

When you look at how his tenure stacks up against, say, Mike Locksley's at New Mexico, the case that Sherman "deserves" his walking papers seems flimsy. His teams haven't suffered any of the off-the-field embarrassments that seem to warrant a pink slip in college football these days, either.

However, the Aggies are off to the biggest, baddest conference in college football next year. If winning is your thing, what evidence has Sherman given that he's the right captain to steer A&M through the ominous waters of the SEC?

A paradigm shift like the one currently taking place in College Station seems like a great time for Loftin and A&M athletic director Bill Byrne to assess the direction of the football program. With its access to Lone Star State talent, A&M will occupy a unique position in the SEC's competitive landscape. There are certainly a number of talented coaches who would love a shot that kind of opportunity. (Houston's Kevin Sumlin, for instance, just lives right down the road.)

Sherman might not deserve it, but in major college football, five bucks and what you deserve will get you a cup of coffee. It sure won't get you wins in the SEC.

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