The Future of Todd Graham at Arizona State
Tonight, the Utah Utes, ranked 15th in the latest CFP poll and 19th in our poll, will try to wrap up the Pac-12 South by taking home the win against the Arizona State Sun Devils. There will be an underlying storyline unfolding during the game; one that will be more pertinent to SEC fans. Arizona State coach Todd Graham is moving closer to the hot seat, as he is now 5-4. The Sun Devils have lost four of the past five games after a great 4-0 start. This is their last home game with tough match-ups at #4 Washington and rival Arizona to come. Thus, this may be the Sun Devils’ best chance to become bowl eligible. If Graham doesn’t win tonight, it could mean his job.
Lane Kiffin’s Return?
Enter Lane Kiffin. The success of Alabama’s Offensive Coordinator makes it hard to remember the trials that preceded his time in Tuscaloosa. Yet it was just three years ago that USC fired Kiffin on the airport tarmac. Interestingly enough, the team was returning from a loss to Arizona State. Now many experts posit that Lane Kiffin will no doubt be a head coach next year. But the question at hand, as posed here by Tony Barnhart, is how good of a job can Kiffin actually get.
Arizona State is certainly a quality job in college football. A big school with a large alumni base. Above average facilities, a decent tradition, and a good administration. And they play in a good conference that’s on solid footing. The Pac-12 South is a good division, and winnable.
With that in mind, tonight while you watch the game, picture Lane Kiffin pacing the sideline with a pitchfork on his coaching jacket and an ASU visor adorning is very offensive-minded cranium. Does it fit? Probably, considering his aptitude for the west coast style of offense and his ties to high school coaches in California, which will obviously help with recruiting. Kiffin has personal ties to the west coast and the Pac-12, having played his college football at Fresno State and his two coaching stints at USC.
Of course, Graham still has an opportunity to prove he belongs in Tempe. But there’s no question Graham has lost momentum. After a convincing 55-31 win over Notre Dame in Week 10 of the 2014 season, Arizona State sat at 8-1, atop the Pac-12 South, and was ranked seventh in the nation. They would finish with losses to Oregon State and rival Arizona. A promising season ended in the a Sun Bowl victory over Duke. A good season, to be sure, but not what was expected just four weeks before. Since the Notre Dame victory, the Sun Devils are 13-13, with one bowl win and one bowl loss.