Things are in motion on the Purdue coaching front. No, I don't mean in hiring coordinators. That would take actual foresight to be going after someone and not having the positions sit open for 2.5 weeks with no movement whatsoever. That's just laughable that we would want to move this early.
No, as we know, Morgan Burke has already decided to punt on the 2016 season so he can "hopefully" coast into retirement in 2017 and let someone who gives a crap about football take over. It is blatantly obvious to everyone except those that matter in West Lafayette that the 2016 season is already going down in flames a full 14 days before 2016 even begins.
Barring a miracle turnaround that I just don't see coming (especially since there is not even a hint of a coordinator hiring, let alone any kind of offensive or defensive philosophy that goes away from "suck") Hazell will be gone in a year and hopefully Burke will be gone with him into retirement. We'll need a replacement, and it might mean we get the coach we should have hired years ago: Kevin Sumlin
Yes, Sumlin is at Texas A&M right now, but today it appears that he will lose Kyler Murray, a five star quarterback recruit to transfer. Sumlin has gone 36-15 at Texas A&M in four seasons, but just 17-15 in the SEC and that will not due for a program that thinks it should compete for national titles (though I have no idea why). He is facing the heat and if the 2016 season is a struggle he will likely be gone. He is already losing his top two quarterbacks to transfer, and if you simply search "Kevin Sumlin" on Twitter is clear he is in the impossible situation of "win or be gone" while in the same division as Alabama and a bunch of other heavyweights.
This could be a good thing, because Sumlin is a much better coach if he came home to Purdue. It could also be a bad thing, as his offense is not exactly trending up with excellent talent:
Despite having an offensive-minded coach with blue-chip players all over the roster, the Aggies went just 8-4, 4-4 in the SEC, and were a non-factor on the national radar. That was due in large part to the offense, still filled with talented players, now ranking 63rd in yards per play, 58th in S&P+, 59th in Success Rate (efficiency) and 60th in IsoPPP (explosiveness).
Texas A&M's offense is getting exponentially worse each season. That's no exaggeration. Take a look at what's happened since Manziel left after the 2013 season.
Yards per play rank
11-2 (6-2 SEC)
So, if Sumlin is gone and Purdue is in the market this time next year can he come back? Even other B1G schools are giving us some credit:
Purdue's about to luck into getting Kevin Sumlin, aren't they?— Kevin Trahan (@k_trahan) December 16, 2015
The problem, as always, is Burke:
Morgan Burke can and will screw that up https://t.co/aEJV4Mj5Zm— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) December 16, 2015
Look, when Ohio State, they of four losses in the last four years, says that Purdue would screw up what should be a slam dunk hire it says two things:
1. That Burke, the "Dean of Big Ten ADs" is not held in that high regard.
2. Sumlin to Purdue really would be a good hire.
Looks, I don't care that he is "struggling" to 8-4 every year. The SEC West is light years ahead of the Big Ten West and getting someone like Sumlin with his recruiting connections would be a gigantic step for a moribund program. Even if 8-4 is his ceiling that is a ceiling we haven't seen in more than a decade in West Lafayette. It is a second floor ceiling above the sub-sub-basement where we're currently digging deeper in search of a lower rock bottom.
With Burke in charge who knows what can happen. Hiring Sumlin next year could be his parting gift to attempt to fix what he screwed up years ago. I could also see him foolishly keeping Hazell for a fifth season if Purdue goes 3-9 or 4-8 under some delusion of progress. The point is that Purdue might have a chance to actually right things here. We would take Sumlin mostly because he can't do much worse and he might just be in a brutal division with outrageous expectations.he could excel at Purdue, and he is worth the chance if TAMU is foolish enough to fire him.
It doesn't change the purgatory that will likely be the 2016 season, but it is some actual good news that might happen if Burke doesn't screw it up.
Pretty sad that it is the best we can do right now.