Possible replacements for Sherman at Texas A&M

Texas A&M fired Mike Sherman as its head coach Thursday evening after finishing his fourth year in College Station with a 27-25 loss to rival Texas. The former Green Bay Packers head coach compiled a 25-25 record during his tenure in College Station, and the Aggies went just 6-6 this fall after entering the season with high expectations. Maintaining second-half leads dogged A&M all season long.

So which direction will the Aggies go as they look to fill their head-coaching vacancy?

Here are some potential candidates:

Kevin SumlinICONWill Houston's Kevin Sumlin help lead A&M into the SEC?

• Kevin Sumlin: Sumlin is the hottest name on the market right now after leading Houston to an undefeated regular season and on the cusp of a BCS bid, and he has emerged as the Aggies' top target. The Cougars will play Southern Miss on Saturday, and Sumlin's squad could be headed to the Sugar Bowl with a win. His prolific offenses are fun to watch, and his brand of football will certainly put fans in the seats. He'd represent a new energy in College Station as A&M prepares to move into the SEC next season. Sumlin worked under former Aggies head coach R.C. Slocum from 2001-02, and his ability to recruit in Texas is invaluable. Arizona State, however, reportedly has Sumlin No. 1 on its list as the school looks to replace the fired Dennis Erickson, and UCLA could be in the mix as well as Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero searches for Rick Neuheisel's replacement.

• Kirby Smart: Anyone associated with Nick Saban is a bright guy, and that’s exactly what Smart has proven to be over the years. The Alabama defensive coordinator may get overlooked nationally because of his head coach’s own great defensive mind, but Smart has been one of the rising coaches among the assistant ranks for the last few years. And with the Tide fielding another suffocating defense this fall, Smart remains a hot commodity.

• Charlie Strong: Strong helped Louisville turn around its season under freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and a strong defense, and the former South Carolina and Florida defensive coordinator is known as one of the top recruiters in the nation. In just his second season, he has the Cardinals currently in a tie for the Big East title. He is 14-11 in just two seasons at the 'Ville and will have his team in a bowl game in both seasons at the helm.

• Larry Fedora: The Southern Miss head coach has a Big 12 and SEC background and is an offensive-minded coach. He worked under Ron Zook at Florida in a variety of offensive roles, including coordinator, and he served under Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State as one of the top-paid offensive coordinators in the country. He's also been linked to openings at Kansas and Mississippi, and he has the Golden Eagles in this weekend's C-USA championship against Houston.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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