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A few missed ‘thank yous’ for the success of Wildcats, Sun Devils and Cardinals

Imagine the guy at work who always seems to be right and it drives you nuts. He walks onto the job site or into the office on one morning last August. You’re talking football with him. He says, “Come Halloween, UA, ASU and the Cardinals will be 6-1.”

You would have been thrilled because you knew the know-it-all was clueless. As much as you are a fan of one or two of those teams, you had the realistic view. It would be a ridiculous thought that UA could play Oregon and USC plus five other games with only one loss. Impossible for ASU to get through UCLA, at USC, Stanford and at Washington as a one-loss team. Then there’s the Cardinals who could lose to San Diego, would probably lose to Philly, would definitely go down to the 49ers and had no chance in Denver.

All three are 5-1 with the chance to be 6-1 before Halloween comes next Friday night.

It is impossible to heap enough praise on Rich Rodriguez, Todd Graham and Steve Keim/Bruce Arians. However, that’s easy to do. Let’s look a little deeper. Give credit to the others that deserve it: the Michigan fan base, Lisa Love and Reggie McKenzie.


Do you have time to write thank you cards to Lloyd Carr and the 100,000 fans that are regulars at the “Big House”? They are the main reason that Rich Rodriguez is not the head coach at Michigan. It takes years to make the switch from smash-mouth football to the spread. Michigan fans didn’t want to wait.

It’s hysterical to watch the complete destruction of a once-great college power. The humor comes due to the arrogance of the administration and fans. Michigan loves to pretend they are an outstanding academic institution, which is a source for entertainment. It was too difficult for Michigan fans to understand that Rich Rod needed time to convert the personnel to his offense.

The administration wanted to stick to the idea there’s a “Michigan Man,” because they can’t accept the fact Michigan football as they know it is dead. The fans want to live in the past. The 15-to-18-year-old could care less about Michigan history unless they learn about it from their parents.

Michigan high school football isn’t good enough to keep up with the talent coming out of Florida, Texas, L.A. and the deep South. The parents of those children are not raising Michigan fans. To those kids, Michigan is boring. Rodriguez can recruit Florida and his offense attracts athletes, which Michigan desperately needs. Michigan’s fight between impatience and ignorance made Tucson Rich.


When was the last time you heard an ASU fan say, “I miss Lisa Love. She was a great Athletic Director”? Well, you owe the rising string of success to her.

In one of the more bizarre coaching searches in recent college football history, June Jones reportedly called his assistants off the recruiting trail. No reason to continue to recruit athletes to SMU since the negotiations with ASU had moved into “done deal — wait for lawyers to go through the details” stage. Word quickly spread. Fans went crazy. Boosters of ASU, who clearly knew more about football than the ASU AD, made threats. While Jones was organizing his Arizona State coaching staff, he learned he was no longer a candidate at Arizona State. ASU boosters and intelligent fans were ahead one to Love.

From an athletic department standpoint, Dr. Michael Crow came in and made his best decision. He diminished Love’s role until a more appropriate time could be found to remove her from her position. Crow and former ASU AD Steve Patterson targeted Todd Graham once they knew his interest of leaving Pittsburgh was real.

With a little Love, ASU would never have been able to keep up with the Joneses by hiring June.


Arizona lost at San Francisco to end the 2012 season. Even the most ardent Cards fan will not remember who played left tackle that night. I’m assuming you don’t remember “D’Anthony Batiste growth poster night.” Can you name the QB? All four of them? In that last game, Brian Hoyer had earned the start over Ryan Lindley who had earned the job from John Skelton who had earned the job from Kevin Kolb. So just two years ago the starting left tackle and quarterback under Rod Graves and Ken Whisenhunt were D’Anthony Batiste and Brian Hoyer.

Who was the man that saved the day for the Arizona Cardinals? We salute Reggie McKenzie. In just two years, the Raiders left tackle and quarterback are now leading the 5-1 Cardinals against Philadelphia this Sunday. Oakland thought Palmer was worth two first-round picks when he was a Bengal. Oakland thought Palmer was worth a sixth-round pick when he was a Raider.

The Jared Veldheer debacle should have earned McKenzie a dismissal. I understand if you don’t think Veldheer is an elite left tackle. McKenzie did nothing wrong by not signing Veldheer to a long-term deal if he didn’t want to overpay. The unjustifiable decision was not placing a tag on him. If the Raiders would have transitioned Veldheer, they could have matched Arizona’s offer. Losing Veldheer for nothing is directly reflected in Oakland’s record.

Thank you to Michigan fans, Lisa Love and Reggie McKenzie. If you knew what you were doing, football in Arizona wouldn’t be as enjoyable this month.