Do you see 8 wins on the Arizona State football schedule? Do defenses that resemble a sieve suddenly turn around in one offseason? If you have a two quarterbacks, does it mean you don’t have one?
With the college football season starting this week in our great State, it’s very fair to wonder if by the first of October we are going to have to start contacting search firms about the future head football coaches at both Arizona and Arizona State. You’d be naive to think that the AD’s at both schools haven’t at the very least put five names in his top desk drawer on a 3 x 5 card.
I was sitting at a table for the Arizona State football kickoff lunch a couple of weeks back. The mood wasn’t one of “this is our year for the Rose Bowl”. Instead, I had plenty of loyal maroon and gold wearing businessmen(donors) who said “if we can just make it to a bowl game, that would be a good season.” Of course, I was not going to be rude and say “A” BOWL GAME!!!???”
Aren’t Arizona State fans tired of going to second and third tier stops in El Paso, Las Vegas and San Diego? Aim higher!
At the Kickoff Lunch, Athletic Director Ray Anderson stepped to the podium and delivered a two-minute talk to the masses that opened with “We have high aspirations, we have high expectations, we expect to win in impressive fashion.”
Anderson went on to praise the roster and the coaching staff “It rivals ANYTHING that Arizona State has put together since the Frank Kush era” but the line that Anderson layed out on Todd Graham was really interesting to me. “We have a head coach who is prepared to take the next step on his own personal journey to become one of the elite head coaches in ALL of college football.”
In his early years in Tempe, Graham was the ONLY person that could go out front and raise funds for the stadium project. At the time, I had people within the athletic department openly worry about the amount of time, energy, and effort he was putting into fundraising to get the ball rolling. He went through an athletic director change and missed on some recruits. Once the program started to slip,(look at the record against Power 5 schools since the 2014 Notre Dame game) the feeling of support for Graham changed. There is NO QUESTION he’s coaching for his job in 2017. Pushing the reset button for both parties may be the best option by the time the end of November rolls around. Personally, I don’t believe that he will return after this season. I believe his fate will be known before the Arizona game even takes place.