Trouble at A&M

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is on the hot seat. Should he be?

Things are not good in Aggie Land. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is probably on the hottest seat in college football right now. With a disastrous collapse to open the season at UCLA, followed by lackluster efforts against inferior opponents, things are not good in Aggie Land.

It is easy to look at recent history and say Sumlin's job should be on the line, but looking at the big picture, should it be?

Sumlin took over a program that had not won 11 games since 1998 and promptly went 11-2. He followed that up with a nine-win season and three eight win seasons. The last time that happened at A&M? You have to go all the way back to 1989-1994, when the Aggies won at least eight games every year. Then went on probation. That Sumlin has done it in the SEC is even more impressive.

But the Aggies rightfully expect more. They spend as much as anyone, have a fertile recruiting base and expect results. And Sumlin has had some rough moments, losing several top QB prospects to transfers. (In Week 3, two of his former QBs, Kenny Hill and Kyle Allen, lit it up for their new teams. Hill was 24 of 30 for 365 and four touchdowns for TCU in a win over SMU, while Allen was 31 of 33 for 309 yards and two TDs as Houston clubbed Rice).

Meanwhile, A&M seems to be stuck with Kellen Mond, a highly regarded recruit who is a terrific athlete but is not a reliable passer, despite solid numbers himself that week.

Throw in a controversy over assistant coaches last year, and it all adds up to trouble in College Station. 

So what has to happen for Sumlin? There is still time to turn it around, but the SEC schedule looms and the Aggies could easily implode. If that happens, the decision is easy. But what if they manage eight wins again? Will that be good enough for the A&M community? Probably not. And the next question becomes who out there is better? Chip Kelly if he wants to come back to college? Maybe Chad Morris is ready for the leap? Les Miles and his lack of offense? There might not be a better answer than what is already on campus.

None of that may matter. Sumlin's seat is on fire, and putting out the flames might be impossible at this stage.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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