USC loses a (possible) football coach—Kevin Sumlin

Texas A&M; Coach Kevin Sumlin talks to two of his players as they warm up for a game.
(Scott Halleran / Getty Images)

Those who suggested Texas A&M; Coach Kevin Sumlin was USC’s top coaching choice may have been right — but Sumlin is not coming to USC.

A telling sign someone is making a run at a coach is if the targeted coach suddenly signs a multiyear contract before kickoff against, say, Missouri.

It happened Saturday when Sumlin reportedly agreed on a six-year deal to stay at Texas A&M.;


“I am humbled and very appreciative of the commitment that Texas A&M; has extended not only to me and my family, but to our football program overall,” Sumlin said in a statement. “We have only just begun to lay the foundation for sustained, long-term success here at Texas A&M;, and we will work hard every day to make this great institution and the 12th Man proud.”

Sumlin was considered a possible candidate for USC, which fired Lane Kiffin earlier this season.

Sumlin entered the weekend with a 19-5 record in two seasons at Texas A&M.;

Ohio State holds on for ‘W’

Ohio Governor John Kasich encouraged Ohio State fans to boycott the letter M as a way of showing support for Saturday’s game against archrival Michigan.

“We do hereby recognize Saturday, November 30, as ‘Scarlet Letter Saturday’ throughout Ohio,” Kasich’s resolution said. “We encourage all Ohioans to avoid using the letter M when possible.”

Ohio State narrowly escaped with a 42-41 win when Michigan failed on a two-point try in the final minute.

Ohio State also boycotted the letter D (for defense) as the Buckeyes allowed 603 yards to the Wolverines.

The game was marred by a first-half brawl that led to the ejection of three players, two from Ohio State’s side.

As Buckeyes lineman Marcus Hall left the field, he raised his hands and made two obscene gestures on his way out of Michigan Stadium.

Hall was not forming the letter M with his fingers.

Under fire

Two hot-headed college coaches got reprieves from their athletic directors Saturday.

“If they want to fire me, go ahead,” embattled Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini said after his tirade-laced loss to Iowa on Friday.

That’s not going to happen, at least for now.

Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst released a statement saying Pelini’s job is safe for the immediate future.

“We very much look forward to our upcoming bowl game and Coach Pelini continuing to lead our program in the future,” Eichorst said.

Florida Coach Will Muschamp, who injured his hand punching a chalkboard during a recent game, watched his team fall to 4-8 Saturday with its seventh consecutive defeat, a 37-7 home loss to Florida State.

The Gators posted their first losing season since 1979, yet Athletic Director Jeremy Foley assured reporters Saturday that Muschamp was his man.

“We haven’t made an excuse all year and we’re not going to make them now,” Foley said. “We know what this program is all about. I have total confidence in Coach Muschamp and have made that clear.”

Don’t bowl me over

Not everyone was playing for league titles and bowl bids.

Some schools were playing only for pride.

In a faceoff of 1-10 teams, New Mexico State bested Idaho, 24-16, in Las Cruces, N.M.

Idaho’s only previous win came against Temple; New Mexico State’s was against Abilene Christian.

Southern Mississippi also avoided its second straight winless season with a 62-27 win at Alabama Birmingham in a Conference USA game.

Nick Mullens passed for 370 yards and a career-high five touchdowns and also ran for a score to lead the Eagles, who improved to 1-11.

Southern Miss avoided joining Kansas State (three times), Wisconsin (1967-68), William & Mary (1912-13) and Tulane (1905-06) as major colleges with consecutive winless seasons since 1900.

Kansas State was the last school to post consecutive winless seasons, in 1987-88.

Not so lucky Saturday were Georgia State, which fell to 0-12 with a 38-17 loss to Southern Alabama, and Miami (Ohio), which ended a winless 0-12 campaign with a 55-14 loss to Ball State.