If you’re keeping watch on the head coaching carousel this college football season, then you know the head of the pack starts with Kevin Sumlin from the Houston Cougars. Thus far, his team is 12-0 and staring at a major BCS bowl, which comes with about $17 million in payout for Conference USA. A win in today’s Conference USA Championship game would give Sumlin 13 wins this year and a surefire platform to jump to several schools of his choosing — from Arizona State to Texas A&M and possible several others.
That said, Sumlin’s stock might take a bit of a hit today if the team loses against Southern Miss. It’s likely not enough to undo the positive vibe he has among major college programs, but it’s also clear that it raises the spotlight on the questions surrounding Houston’s success and whether or not Sumlin should be such hot property in the first place. Their lack of quality competition and failure to win the big game certainly has to come into play when analyzing head coaching candidates.
After all, Sumlin has only went 1-1 in bowl games and both times it was in the Armed Forces Bowl. Last season, the Houston Cougars went 5-7, so it’s clear his team hasn’t established some dominant legacy within the Conference USA. Sumlin is a good coach on the rise, for certain, but just how steep the slope is should be measured.
As for Case Keenum, he’s looked incredibly vulnerable today and questions about his draft stock are certainly predicting a downward trend for his projections. The knock against him are about a system quarterback as well as the (lack of) competition he’s faced and Southern Miss is showing him up today — with their 55th ranked pass defense.