Did Herm Edwards leave Arizona State football in better shape than Todd Graham?
In 2017, Arizona State football fired Todd Graham as head coach after six years with the Sun Devils and replaced him with Herm Edwards.
In the news conference announcing Graham's firing, ASU athletic director Ray Anderson made some lofty proclamations about the Sun Devil football program.
He said: "We want to compete for championships and we want to win consistently across the board in all of our sports. In football, we have not done that in the four years that I have been there. Not consistently. We have been average. (A record of) 7-5 and second place in a riddled Pac-12 South is not our aspiration. We deserve more.”
He added: “There should be no question in anybody's mind that the things we have here can attract. ... We should be top 3 in the Pac-12 in my opinion every season. There's no reason we shouldn't be every year top 15 nationally, if we do what we're supposed to do here.”
He also said: “Some folks are OK with going to the Cactus Bowl and even the Sun Bowl, which is the fifth-ranked bowl among the Pac-12 contracted bowls. That means you're the fifth-best team in the conference. It's good for the experience of going and getting those extra practices, but if anyone here is satisfied with that, I don't understand it. I'm not.”
Herm Edwards firing reaction: What people are saying about fired ASU football coach
Anderson and Arizona State announced Herm Edwards' hire as the new Arizona State coach not long thereafter.
In a statement announcing Edwards' hire, Anderson said "our goal for this football program is to reach unprecedented heights."
Under Edwards, who was fired Sunday, ASU football didn't "compete for championships." It wasn't "Top 3 in the Pac-12" or "Top 15 nationally."
The team did not reach "unprecedented heights" under Edwards. In fact, arguments can be made that Arizona State didn't even get better under Edwards than Graham.
More:Arizona State football fans call for Ray Anderson to be fired after Herm Edwards firing
Here's a look at Todd Graham's tenure at Arizona State compared to Herm Edwards' tenure:
Record at ASU:
- Todd Graham: 46-32 (.590)
- Herm Edwards: 26-20 (.565)
Best season at ASU:
- Todd Graham: 2013 (10-4)
- Herm Edwards: 8-5 (2019, 2021)
Best Pac-12 finish at ASU:
- Todd Graham: Pac-12 South champions (2013)
- Herm Edwards: 2nd place in Pac-12 South (2018)
Bowl appearances (record) at ASU:
- Todd Graham: 5 (2-3)
- Herm Edwards: 3 (1-2)
Record vs. Arizona:
- Todd Graham: 4-2
- Herm Edwards: 4-0
More:Arizona State interim football coach Shaun Aguano: What to know about new Sun Devils coach
Edwards' recruiting classes before being mired in an NCAA recruiting investigation were stronger than Graham's, but Graham was never mired in an NCAA recruiting investigation.
In fairness, Graham's teams at the start of his tenure were his best, going 8-5, 10-4 and 10-3 before he finished 6-7, 5-7 and 7-6 in his final three seasons.
But Edwards' teams went just 7-6, 8-5, 2-2 (COVID-19) and 8-5 in his first four seasons and this year's team was 1-2 when he was fired.
More:Arizona State football upset by Eastern Michigan in college football game in Tempe
Many ASU fans always felt that Graham shouldn't have been fired, especially when he was replaced with Edwards.
Anderson's lofty proclamations not coming close to being met under Edwards certainly didn't help Edwards' cause.
Twitter had thoughts on the state of the ASU football program after Herm Edwards' firing.
More:Eastern Michigan football trolls Herm Edwards, Arizona State after win over Sun Devils
What do you think: Did Herm Edwards leave Arizona State football in better shape than Todd Graham?
Reach Jeremy Cluff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.
Support local journalism: Subscribe to azcentral.com today.