HOUSTON - University of Houston fans were pumped up Friday for Saturday's big game, but they were also concerned their coach could be lured away to another university.
Texas A&M has fired head coach Mike Sherman Thursday, and the UH's Kevin Sumlin is rumored to be the Aggies No. 1 choice to replace him.
Sumlin's Cougars are set to battle Southern Miss for the Conference USA title 11 a.m. Saturday in front of a sold out crowd at Robertson Stadium.
"I can't put into words how exciting it is for a chance for the Coogs to go onto another conference next season," student Ryan Graham said. "Just the thought of Houston vs. LSU gets me psyched."
The Cougars have a 12-0 record and are ranked No. 6 in the country.
If the Cougars win Saturday, they should qualify for the Sugar Bowl.
"It's a new atmosphere," student Mike Young said. "U of H hasn't seen nothing like this since Andre Ware."
Ware won the Heisman trophy in 1989.
Sumlin is a former Assistant at Texas A&M and Oklahoma and has an established recruiting base in Houston and throughout Texas.
Texas A&M's recruiting classis among the nation's best and currently includes verbal commitments from Dekaney RB Trey Williams, Hightower QB Bralon Addison and Klein Forest QB Matt Davis.
A source told KPRC Local 2 Sports that Addison would remain firm with the Aggies if Sumlin were to land the job. Arkansas is also heavily recruiting Addison.
"I was fond of Coach Sherman," Addison said. "I was shocked. I didn't see it coming."
Sherman leaves College Station with a 25-25 record over the past four seasons. The Aggies will have an interim coach for the bowl game.
Sumlin is one of the hottest coaching candidate in the country. Rumors have linked him to several different openings, but the one at Arizona State really started to fan the flames. The Sun Devils were rumored to have Sumlin as their top choice, and now Texas A&M may throw its hat into the ring as well.
Sumlin's current contract has a base salary of $1 million and runs through the 2015 season. He can earn an extra $1 million in deferred compensation if he completes the 2012 football season in Houston.
"Kevin and I have continued to communicate," UH Athletics Director Mack Rhoades said. "We've got a great relationship and we'll continue to be proactive and make sure he understands that we value him tremendously, and we value our staff tremendously."
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