The buzz was brewing well before the past two weeks, but after back-to-back blowouts, expectations are slowly rising for the Arizona State Sun Devils. While few expect them to make a serious run at a Pac-12 crown, bowl eligibility is looking like it could be a reality this season.
There’s some talent on this team, but overall it’s a very inexperienced group. The fact that the Devils have come out in back-to-back weeks and laid the smackdown can largely be attributed to the arrival of Todd Graham.
Graham has helped to lead the culture change at Arizona State that the school had hoped for after the departure of Dennis Erickson. Erickson led a program that was run by the players and included virtually no discipline. With Graham, it’s been nearly the complete opposite.
Todd Graham really has been a fresh air. In such a short time, he’s turned the mentality of the entire program around. And with that, the results should come eventually. For that reason, fans of the Sun Devils should love him. But in no way, should they actually trust Todd Graham.
It’s widely known the way in which Graham left his former program, the University of Pittsburgh. After just one season with the Panthers, Graham bolted for the desert. The process was quick, with Graham resigning as head coach for Pittsburgh and nothing more than a text message being sent to his players.
It wasn’t admirable, in any way. And in his brief time as a head coach at the college level, Graham hasn’t proven to be the most reliable guy in the world. It’s his history that is really a reason that Arizona State fans should not trust Graham, no matter how many times he’s expressed his comfort in Tempe.
Maybe I’m wrong. And I hope I am. Todd Graham has done a great job with this program in a short time, and I’m not even looking at the record. Just the mentality of the program. But after the way he left Pitt, Graham is going to have to prove his dedication in the long term.
Until he does that, I’ll avoid going “all in” in support of Todd Graham.