Todd Graham was torched by the national media for his one-year tenure in Pittsburgh. Isn’t it time for those same people to turn their attention to Pittsburgh and wonder if they’re the problem?
Arizona State University is in a major metropolitan area with four professional franchises. The University of Pittsburgh is in a major metropolitan area with three professional franchises. Arizona State University’s football team has had flash points of success on a national level but nothing sustained. The University of Pittsburgh’s football team has had periods of sustained success, but those are so long ago you wouldn’t know it without Wikipedia. Arizona State University has a terrible attendance problem. The University of Pittsburgh has a terrible attendance problem.
It begs the question, why couldn’t the same man do in Pittsburgh what he’s done in Tempe? Obviously, there was some talent here for Coach Graham, but don’t say the uneducated line, “He won with Erickson’s guys.”
First off, Coach Erickson didn’t win with Erickson’s guys. Secondly, D.J. Foster, Marion Grice, Jaxon Hood and Jalaen Strong are not Erickson’s guys. Lastly on this point, there is no way Taylor Kelly was seen as the answer or would have developed into the player he has under the former coaching staff. This is the work of Todd Graham.
Todd Graham lost a division championship in his first year on a late field goal. Todd Graham won a division championship at ASU in only his second year. Todd Graham is one win away from bringing a championship game to the Tempe economy in his second year.
The national media won’t rise up in a massive recantation. They’ll just move on to the next story somewhere else. The truth of the matter is that the University of Pittsburgh will look at the success and scream in frustration. They’ll claim that should have been them. That’s not reality. The reason why the University of Pittsburgh didn’t have the same success under Todd Graham is the fault of Pitt’s administration. They ran to the national media to save them from people that jump from their “commitments,” but they didn’t want to be judged for jumping conferences.
Todd Graham has brought a winner to Tempe for two reasons. Todd Graham is a winner, and Arizona State University is not the University of Pittsburgh. The national media won’t re-examine their positions on Todd Graham for a few more years. ASU won’t care what the national media does. ASU will just happily invite the national media to town for the Pac-12 Championship Game with Todd Graham as its host.