In perhaps the most shocking coaching news this season, Pitt’s Todd Graham has left to take over as head coach for Arizona State. He will leave the Panthers after just one year as head coach for his fourth head coaching job in six years.
Conversely, whoever is hired at Pitt will be the fourth head coach since November 2010.
But what can Sun Devil fans expect out of their new head coach? Here are some bold predictions for Graham’s first year at Arizona State.
There are 10 seniors currently in the Arizona State starting lineup, and stud linebacker Vontaze Burfict is expected to declare for the NFL draft. That leaves a lot to be desired for a team that went 6-6, including losses in five of the last six games.
Considering that Graham had a 6-6 season himself while at Pitt and that the Sun Devils have to compete with USC as well as UCLA and Arizona, who both got new, high-profile coaches, making it to a bowl next year is an ambitious goal.
Graham is a defensive-minded guy, which will be a refreshing change of pace for the Pac-12, but with more than half of the unit leaving after giving up 418 yards per game, it will be hard to quickly rebound.
Arizona State should expect production similar to what it saw this season, though losing Vontaze Burfict could make the unit even worse.
Brock Osweiler is a solid quarterback, but he will lose all of his starting wide receivers as well as two offensive linemen. Graham had some high-powered offenses during his time at Tulsa, but that was because of Gus Malzahn, who is now the head coach at Arkansas State.
The more teams that are using the spread in the Pac-12, the better opposing defenses are going to be able to defend it, so unless Graham is able to bring a top offensive coordinator on board, you can forget about Arizona State scoring many points.