Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 12/2/11

Simply put, there wasn’t a more infuriating, frustrating and overall disappointing team in all of college football this year than the Texas A&M Aggies. A club which started the year ranked by some in the Top 10 and as a dark horse to win the Big XII, finished just 6-6. Because of it, change had to be made, and the biggest one came down this evening. Head coach Mike Sherman was fired.

What was rumored since last Thursday’s 27-25 loss to Texas became true today, as Sherman was relieved of his duties after four years on the job. He finished at 25-25, with his best season in 2010 when the Aggies finished the regular season 9-3, before losing to LSU in the Cotton Bowl.

Austin American Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls first reported the news at a little past 7:00 p.m. EST time tonight on his Twitter feed.

Texas A&M has decided to fire football Mike Sherman but has not yet notified him, a prominent Aggie source just told me.

Then, a short time later, Texas A&M Athletics Director Bill Byrne released a statement which said:

"Mike Sherman has operated our football program with the highest levels of character and integrity over the past four seasons and has served as a great ambassador for Texas A&M University. Mike has always put the welfare of the student-athlete and Texas A&M first.

"I appreciate Coach Sherman's selfless service to Texas A&M as our head football coach and his tireless efforts in building leaders of character. He is truly one of the great offensive minds in football, both collegiate and professional, and I know that he has much to offer the game of football in the future.

"After discussions with our coaches, we will decide who will be the interim coach of the Aggies in our upcoming bowl game. We will meet with the team and assistant coaches as soon as possible, probably tomorrow."

In a final twist, Bohls later reported that the decision on Sherman came down from school President Bowen Loftin, not Athletics Director Bill Byrne. From Bohls’ Twitter feed:

I am told A&M president Bowen Loftin ordered AD Bill Byrne to do the firing of head football coach Mike Sherman.

So ends the reign of Sherman, which saw the team perennially underachieve, even with some of the most talented rosters in recent school history. It also marks the beginning of an uncertain future, as Texas A&M is now a mere eight months away from starting a new life as members of the SEC.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way for Sherman though, who came to College Station in the winter of 2007 bringing high hopes with him to A&M, after stints as head coach of the Green Bay Packers and as an offensive assistant with the Houston Texans. His first two years at the school proved to up and down, with 4-8 and 6-7 records, including an Independence Bowl loss to Georgia to end year two.

However, after struggles at the start of 2010 (when hot seat chatter first began), Sherman righted the ship, as A&M rebounded from a 3-3 start to win their last six games. Even still, most of the credit never actually did fall on Sherman’s shoulders, but instead on that of a defense led by future No. 2 overall pick Von Miller, as well as a change at quarterback from Jerrod Johnson to Ryan Tannehill. The former wide receiver moved to quarterback and worked magic, leading the Aggies to six straight wins before a Cotton Bowl loss to LSU.

And it was in large part off of that success that A&M entered this year with sky-high expectations both on and off the field. Between the white lines, Texas A&M brought 18 starters back including Tannehill, and had their highest preseason ranking in years. More importantly, they also sent shockwaves throughout the college football world when in August, they elected to withdraw from the Big XII, and were eventually invited to the SEC as the conference’s 13th team. They will begin league play as a member of the SEC next fall.

But for whatever positive karma Texas A&M had off the field, it never transitioned onto the field for this season. The losses started in the cruelest of fashions against Oklahoma State in Week 3, when Texas A&M held a 20-3 halftime lead at home, before coughing up the lead, and losing 30-27. They would go on to lose five more games during the season, blowing a second half lead in all but one of them. The final straw for many A&M fans was a loss to Texas on Thanksgiving night at home, when the Aggies held a 25-24 lead late into the fourth quarter, before a Longhorns field goal at the end of regulation won it.

Even then though, it appeared that Sherman might very well survive another year in College Station. As recently as this afternoon Bohls was reporting that Sherman had met with a prominent Aggie booster, and the rumor circulating late this evening was that the coach had to actually be pulled off the road while recruiting. Sherman is still owed between $3 and $5 million as a buyout.

Now the question turns to who will be the next coach at Texas A&M, as the school enters one of the most exciting, and concerning times in their program’s history. As of July 1, 2012 the Aggies leave the cozy confines of the Big XII for the ferocious kill-or-be-killed SEC. Overall, the SEC has won five straight BCS National Championships, with a sixth virtually assured this season. In addition, Texas A&M will enter the SEC West, which is home to the last two BCS title winners (Alabama and Auburn) and very likely a third this year too. As of last week, the top three teams in the country (LSU, Alabama and Arkansas) were all in the West.

Because of what was stated above, it’s left many including myself wondering, who exactly is going to want this job? Simply put, there has never been a worse time to enter the SEC as a new head coach, and there doesn’t seem to be a more dysfunctional school from top to bottom than A&M is. The leading candidate for the now vacant job is said to be Houston’s Kevin Sumlin, but as the head coach of a 12-0 Houston Cougars team, he’ll have plenty of other offers to choose from. Today reports surfaced that Arizona State has made him their top candidate to replace Dennis Erickson, something that may have expedited Sherman’s termination at A&M.

Still, if you’re Sumlin, let’s ask a very simple question: If you were looking for a safer future as a head coach, would you go to the SEC West, where three of the top teams in college football reside as well as the defending National Champion in Auburn? Or would you maybe prefer Arizona State and the Pac-12 South, where UCLA just won the division with an umm, not so stellar 6-6 mark?

The point being this: For those of you A&M who wanted Mike Sherman out, you got your wish. He’s gone.

But if you’re expecting a big-name, can’t-miss, home-run hire, well, than I suspect you’ll end up pretty disappointed. Even if you do get the guy you want, chances are, you’ll probably have to overpay. It's a scenario the folks at Ole Miss are experiencing right now, and one that you'll likely be stuck with in the future.

Aggies fans, you wanted to play with the big boys of the SEC, and now you’ve got your chance.

Gig ‘em.

For updates on all his college football articles and opinions, follow Aaron Torres on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.


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