Year One: Todd Graham's first 365 days as Arizona State football coach

Christian Petersen

Lets take a look through the last year's worth of headlines as we think about Todd Graham's initial year in Tempe.

One year ago today, the ASU coaching search culminated in the surprising hire of Todd Graham, then the coach of the Pitt Panthers. Lets take a look at the entire year.


14th: Todd Graham is hired, and ASU fans are very concerned about it. His propensity for job hopping, lack of recruiting ties out west and the Pac-12 being the biggest stage he's ever coached on are key issues.

22nd: An ASU football team led by lame duck coach Dennis Erickson gets romped by a talented Boise State team in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, 56-24.


2nd: Vontaze Burfict declares on Facebook that he is going to the NFL Draft a season early, despite his slipping draft stock.

5th: A crushing blow is delivered to Todd Graham's rebuilding campaign, as junior quarterback Brock Osweiler declares for the NFL Draft.

27th: A big day for Graham as 4-star running back D.J. Foster stays in the valley and picks the Sun Devils for his college career.

31st: Graham manages to earn a commitment from Steffon Marton, a junior college transfer that would play a big role on the defense in 2012.


1st: Marion Grice picks the Devils, and Graham's first recruiting class begins to pick up steam. Jaxon Hood also joins ASU, rebuffing the advances of Boston College.

22nd: Todd Graham goes on the phone with season ticket holders and discusses the fluid quarterback situation, bringing back discipline and what kind of offensive scheme he would be bringing to the table. This is the point where several fans began to come around, hearing Graham's big plans for the university.


28th: Athletic Director Lisa Love was replaced by Steve Patterson, signaling an end to the old era and a new beginning in the desert. During Love's tenure, the football and basketball programs failed to deliver a critical mass of fans and success, two key ingredients to recruiting and prominence.


4th: Steve Patterson unveils a detailed renovation plan for Sun Devil Stadium. We talk about how an upgrade in facilities could help recruiting and the arms race in the Pac-12.

19th: ASU announces a donation campaign to bring the team back to Camp Tontozona in August.

21st: Pat's Run and the Arizona State spring game. Despite 100 degree weather, the Devils put on a good show, and Taylor Kelly began to emerge as the best candidate for the quarterback position.


9th: Graham continues to be berated by national media, and Brad wonders what Graham has to do to stop the bickering.

18th: Nine days later, Brad has to ask Pitt fans to "Let It Be" over their continued Graham sorrows.


13th: The summer tends to be pretty quiet for college football, but Graham was busy recruiting some fine players for 2013, picking up Chans Cox and Joshua Dobbs as the initial headliners of the class.


27th: As summer camp came to a close, Graham was seeing great success in the implementation of discipline, accountability and Sun Devil pride. The Devils found the strength to smash the rock, and the team as we know it now began to come together as one.


13th: The quarterback competition finally started making sense, as Taylor Kelly emerged to be Graham's quarterback in 2012.

18th: The Sun Devils made their first trip to Camp Tontozona in years, and the scrimmage was a great success from all angles - fan attendance, player performance, Sun Devil passion.

31st: The Todd Graham era begins with a 63-6 blowout of Northern Arizona. We catch a glimpse of Graham's passion in the postgame speech.


8th: After a ten day layoff, the Devils crushed the Illinois Fighting Illini, 45-14.

15th: The Devils went into ESS EEE SEE country and came up short against Mizzou, 24-20. Graham's usage of timeouts and Michael Eubank were questioned in this situation.

22nd: All those mistakes were forgiven as the Sun Devils destroyed Utah 37-7 in the Pac-12 opener. Graham let off the gas after a 31-point first half and his team performed admirably against a visiting squad that was clearly scuffling.

29th: The Devils win in Berkeley for the first time since 1997, beating the Bears 27-17. This was a big win for the program. Graham's postgame speeches continued to inspire.


11th: The Colorado Buffaloes hosted the Sun Devils, and the Buffs couldn't withstand the onslaught, falling 51-17. The Devils were 5-1 and optimism was rampant in Tempe.

18th: Oregon fans take to "A" Mountain and paint the "A" green. It was disgusting. Oregon then dismantled the Devils, 43-21, while Will Sutton went down with an injury.

19th: Brad talked about how the loss was only one game, and fans needed to look back at the success that had already taken place and remember our expectations back in the summer.

24th: A discussion takes place regarding Graham's new tradition of giving out the Tillman camo jersey to a defensive player every week as an honor. It turns out to be an excellent new tradition.

27th: Heartbreaking loss to UCLA on a last-second drive. This game swung the balance of the South from ASU to UCLA for the second year in a row.


3rd: Oregon State takes care of business at home, beating ASU 36-26.

7th: I did an 11-month recap of Graham's time in Tempe.

The backlash to the hiring of Graham was overwhelming. Pittsburgh fans were shocked by the way their former coach left the program, and the national media was very hard on Graham for his text message farewell to Panthers players.

Things changed quickly, of course. Todd Graham began campaigning for the hearts and minds of Sun Devil Nation as soon as he got off the plane in Phoenix, making countless appearances at events, engagements and rallies. By April, fans of ASU were slowly accepting Graham as the future of Arizona State football.

Graham's sales pitch to the valley was complete, but the results on the field needed to reflect his winning smile and old-school discipline. A win against Arizona would solve everything.

10th: A loss to USC. Not a surprising situation, but the Devils forced several turnovers and could have won the game, but were unable to produce offensively in a 38-17 loss.

17th: The Devils finally become bowl-eligible with a 46-7 stomping of the Wazzu Cougs.

23rd: The Territorial Cup comes back to Tempe, and Todd Graham's first season is solidified as a huge success as the Devils win 41-34.


2nd: ASU is selected to play Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

5th: Bo Moos breaks down what is needed for the Sun Devils to become an elite institution for athletics.

6th: Will Sutton breaks out in Graham's first season and becomes a consensus All-American.

All in all, it has been a long, successful year for Todd Graham. He has a lot of work to do, particularly in the recruiting war in the Pac-12, but his first steps have been confident and in the right direction.

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