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Arizona State Sun Devils

ASU football ranked 34th-best coaching job among Power 5 schools

Arizona State head coach Todd Graham, center, yells to his players during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas-San Antonio, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in San Antonio. Arizona State won 32-28. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

There are 64 college football teams that belong to Power 5 conferences. And then there’s Notre Dame, who refuses to fully embrace conference membership, but still gets Power 5 recognition, because, you know, Notre Dame.

That means there are only 65 head coaching jobs for Power 5 programs.

The folks over at 247Sports.com have put together a list ranking all 65 college football head coaching jobs. They based their rankings on feedback from coaches, administrators and others in the industry.

The list started with 247’s 65th-ranked job, Kansas. They’ve continued their rankings in installments, and Arizona State’s head coaching position fell at number 34.

Industry sources like this job and its upward potential, even though it requires annual duels with USC and UCLA in the Pac-12 South. Todd Graham’s 10-win seasons in 2013 and 2014 showed the higher reaches of the ceiling – but the program has won just 11 games since then.

“I think someone can do more with it than (Graham) has,” one person familiar with ASU told us.

Bolstering that notion is the gradual renovation of Sun Devil Stadium — a four-year, phase-by-phase project with a total price tag of $268 million.

Just east of downtown Phoenix and adjacent to vibrant Scottsdale nightlife, Tempe is an attractive city with good access to area JUCOs and Los Angeles-area talent.

Graham’s staffs have typically recruited well, in the 20s and 30s in our rankings. The recent win totals have not corresponded to the level of incoming talent. With resources and location, a new staff could legitimately vault ASU into a top-20 job.

ASU ranked one spot ahead of North Carolina and one spot behind Iowa, in the website’s fourth grouping of schools.

The same site wondered whether or not the 34th-best Power 5 coaching position may soon open, too. Travis Haney penned a piece Thursday entitled ‘Are Todd Graham’s days numbered in Tempe?’

Those close to the program say ASU leadership is tiring of Graham, a feeling exacerbated by his lack of success. As is often the case, sources say the buyout needs to come in range before a decision is made. If he were to be let go at the end of the season, ASU would owe between $8-9 million in buyout money.

Some believe it was the buyout factor that kept Graham in his current post for a sixth season. ASU disappointed last year going 5-7 (including a six-game skid to end the season), missed a bowl game for the first time since 2010 and ranked second-to-last among FBS teams in total defense.

Reports indicated that ASU would have owed the head coach $14 million if it would have fired him following the 2016 season.

Arizona State ranks sixth among Pac-12 schools in terms of the desirability of its head coaching position, beating out Utah (41st), Arizona (42nd), Colorado (44th), California (50th), Oregon State (56th) and Washington State (59th).

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