This time of year always brings out people who are questioning whether or not their school should keep the current head coach of the football program. In Tempe, Arizona people are wondering if Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham will be back in 2017.
Ever since Coach Graham came onto the scene at Arizona State there has been an air of confidence with the program. Maybe over confidence. While Graham’s overall record is currently 63-39 with a 61% win percentage, what exactly has he done to deserve another contract?
In the most recent past, Graham’s Sun Devils have lost four in row and have once again made their fair weather fan base even more worried. In the next couple of weeks they have games against an agitated Washington Husky and an underperforming Arizona Wildcat team. They are not going to beat Washington. If the Sun Devils keep the Washington game within four touchdowns you might be able to consider that a moral victory. The following week is the Territorial Cup game with their in-state rival Arizona.
If Arizona State loses to Arizona. Graham might as well put his house on the market and start packing. The administration and the more importantly, the high dollar boosters, will not put up with a season that ends with six straight losses. Especially if one of those losses comes at the hands of Arizona.
Arizona State AD Ray Anderson talked about what the boosters of the program are really after.
“Not all boosters are all about winning. As a program we want to win the right way. The supporters of the program know that.” Anderson said.
Alright. Well, winning the right way is one thing. Consistent winning is something different. Coach Graham has to get to the consistent winning with this program. The Sun Devils have to be in the mix for division titles, conference titles, and big bowl games for this program to turn the corner. Until then, seasons of mediocrity will continue for the Sun Devils.
The other part of this equation is that Arizona State has spent $268 million on renovations to Sun Devil Stadium. When you spend that kind of money on your facilities and stadium you expect to have a return on your investment. That investment is under water right now.
What else has gone wrong?
Injuries. Anybody that follows college football knows that injuries are the great equalizer. There have been a ton of injuries. Manny Wilkins, who was named the starting quarterback, has been injured and missed a ton of time so far this season. His back-up, Brady White, sustained a season ending injury in the win against UCLA. That doesn’t bode well for any team. Wilkins is back starting for the Sun Devils now, but for all intents and purposes it really doesn’t matter. The damage to this season has been done.
For the Sun Devils to have overcome this hurdle of injuries it needed to have good depth. The players behind the starters that have been injured have not performed to their capabilities.
Or have they? Maybe this is as good as it gets for the second stringers on the Sun Devils.
What we have to call into question is the ability of the Sun Devils to recruit quality players. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get quality athletes to come to Tempe, Arizona. The school lies in a big metropolitan city, it has great weather, and the Sun Devils play in a Power 5 Conference.
Would it help if the Sun Devil program was a more consistent winner?
However, the amount of quality players in the state of Arizona and the West region should be enough for the program to be a viable, winning program year after year. Obviously Coach Graham and his assistants can't close the deal on top quality recruits.
Would I be shocked if Todd Graham was shown the door? Not at all.
In the end I think Coach Graham is on a very hot seat, but because of these injuries, he will get a reprieve from the power brokers at Arizona State.
Follow Mike on Twitter: @pigskinopinion