Christmas couldn't have come sooner for Pitt fans everywhere. Here was Todd Graham ready to lead Pitt to the next level and get them to Orange Bowls galore and wait what's this?
"He told me he's here to stay," Street said. "He said he wanted to make me the best player he can.
"It's all a lie. It's been all a lie this whole time. Everything he told us has been a lie."
Meet your new coach, Arizona State.
Now, to be fair, Graham didn't really have much of a choice but to dodge his way out of town. The AD wouldn't let him interview for the coaching vacancy (and why would he let a man who hasn't even been around for two years dictate where and when he wants to go), and it seemed like Graham wanted to take the job as soon as he possibly could. And when it comes to college football, there really isn't room for many of the sweet things. Still, it seems like another way of inflicting yet another black eye on what has been one of the most bizarre coaching searches this offseason.
Graham didn't really achieve anything of note in his only season at Pitt. He had a 6-6 season, a downturn from an 8-5 season, but the Panthers had lost a lot of talent and were just beginning the process of rebuilding. The good thing is that Pitt was competitive in all those contests. The bad thing is that Pitt suffered from an anemic pass attack and an average offense, two things Graham definitely doesn't want out of his team.
If Pitchfork Nation wants to really find something to crow about, you have to turn back to Graham's time at Tulsa, where he had one of the most relentless offensive attacks in all of college football. Graham's no-huddle offense paced the Owls to top five offensive numbers season after season, and landed them in three bowl games and one top 25 ranking.
This shotgun offense is interestingly derived from Rich Rodriguez's old schemes--Graham happened to be on Rodriguez's staff back in the day. Not those two coaches get to duke it out with each other year after year. Does the Territorial Cup sound like fun now?
It's still unclear how well Graham will succeed in the Pac-12 with his methods, and whether he can win right away. ASU is losing a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball, which means a lot of new players, which could probably mean struggles early. ASU hasn't enjoyed much success lately, so expectations are fairly low to start off. Graham should have the time to develop the players he wants in his schemes, but it might take awhile for the players to catch up to this scheme. It is an exciting upbeat passing offense though, so maybe it won't take that long for ASU to get going.
But I'm going to guess that if Graham wins as leader of the Sun Devils, it's not going to be because he was a nice guy.*
*The bright side is that Lane Kiffin wasn't a nice guy either, and he's doing pretty well for himself!