SIDELINES: this week in sports

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It’s hard to imagine Kevin Sumlin will still be wearing the maroon golf shirt in College Station next season. With the Aggies falling to Auburn 42-27 at home this past weekend, Texas A&M currently sits at 5-4. Sumlin has done great things with the Aggies, but he will likely be one of the first coaches let go at the conclusion of the regular season.

Gus Malzahn and the Tigers may catch people by surprise in the remaining three weeks of their season. Though Auburn has a tough schedule in facing number one ranked Georgia this weekend and Alabama in the Iron Bowl in the final weekend of the season, two upsets would shake up the SEC and the playoff quite a bit. It may seem far-fetched to predict a wins by Auburn in both of those games (and let’s not forget the game against Louisiana-Monroe on November 18th — which as we have learned all too well this season — is anyone’s game). But, if there’s anyone who could pull of an upset over one of the two remaining undefeated SEC teams, it’s Auburn.

Penn State lost to Michigan State on a last-second field goal, putting them at 7-2 on the season. Head coach James Franklin sprinted across the field to tell one of his players to go shake hands with the other team. It’s not difficult to recognize class when you see it — imagine being 7-0 and ranked in the top four, only to drop two close games in a row and be out of contention for a national title. It can’t be the happiest of times for Franklin, but he refuses to let his team be disrespectful when they’re disappointed, and that deserves credit.

Ohio State has lost two games in the regular season for the first time in the Urban Meyer era after a blowout loss at Iowa. The Buckeyes are almost for sure out of the playoff race, and though playing in the Rose Bowl is prestigious, OSU seems to only get further away from returning as national champions. JT Barrett appeared to be a Heisman candidate last weekend, but with the loss to an unranked team, and with Baker Mayfield and the Sooners hitting their stride, he may be out of contention as well.

As painful as it is, let’s talk about the Leafs. Perhaps the best thing going for the Leafs is that they get a fresh start this week against a team they have never played before (Vegas). The rest of the week, however, doesn’t make life easy on the Leafs, with Minnesota and Boston on back-to-back days. Though the Leafs remain in a playoff spot and Boston sits four spots out of a playoff — which looks nice but really doesn’t mean much at all right now — the Bruins are always a tough battle. Maybe, just maybe, Toronto will regain the energy that we saw in the first two weeks of the season and get back into the win column.

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