“Some folks are okay with going to the Cactus Bowl and the Sun Bowl. But if anyone here is satisfied with that, I don’t understand it,” Arizona State athletics’ director Ray Anderson said in November 2017 after firing sixth-year head coach Todd Graham.
Two years later, Anderson was in Texas watching Arizona State, under the guidance of second-year head coach Herm Edwards, beat Florida State … in the Sun Bowl. Anderson celebrated the victory on the field with Edwards, a longtime friend whom he picked over coaches with more than zero seasons of college football experience since George H.W. Bush left office, and expressed no disappointment in another mid-level bowl game.
With a home loss to Washington State in Week 9, Edwards is 22-16, including 14-13 in the Pac-12. And throughout four years of mediocrity, Anderson has refused to comment on his friend’s job security, nor has he voiced concerns about missing “major bowl games,” as he did four years ago in justifying paying Graham $12.8 million to go away, or suggested Edwards’ future could be in jeopardy as the program faces an NCAA investigation.
If Edwards is on the hot seat, and Anderson is willing to fire his pal, whom might Arizona State target?
Billy Napier is an obvious candidate. He only spent one year on Graham’s staff (2017) but was lauded by Anderson, who hoped Graham’s replacement would retain Napier, and remains a highly sought-after Power Five candidate.
Who else might be on the hot seat entering Week 8?
From 2010-18, Temple lost five head coaches to Power Five jobs: Al Golden, Steve Addazio, Matt Rhule, Geoff Collins, and Manny Diaz. And after an eight-win 2019 season for first-year head coach Rod Carey, it appeared the Owls would soon lose a sixth coach.
The Owls might indeed lose another coach … except to dismissal, not another job. Since going 8-5 in 2019, Temple is just 4-11 in the last two seasons, including a blowout loss to lowly South Florida. And while Carey probably deserves another season after 2020 may have demolished any positive development for the program, Temple isn’t accustomed to prolonged futility.
Before hiring Diaz and Carey in late 2018, Temple reportedly considered, among others, Mike Elko, Greg Schiano, and Don Brown. Elko is the one of the trio that still makes sense if he’s willing to leave a good, high-paying job.
Andrew Doughty is a writer for PartySports and host of High Motor by PartySports, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else.