Both the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Arizona Wildcats each hired a new head football coach this past offseason. Arizona went with former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez and ASU hired Todd Graham away from Pitt. Both teams lost their starting quarterback and talent at skill positions. The 2012 season is a big unknown for both teams.
How did the new coaches fare in their first week of the 2012 season?
Todd Graham comes out looking a little better. The Sun Devils played NAU, a team they should beat soundly. They did what was expected. They went ahead 42-0 in the second quarter and cruised to a 63-6 win. The team played disciplined football, amassing only four penalties. They made plays on offense and defense, and they showed that their running game will be good behind a stable of running backs in Cameron Marshall, D.J. Foster and Marion Grice.
Rodriguez looked a little less favorable. His Arizona offense piled up over 600 yards of offense, but only 24 points. It took overtime to defeat Toledo 24-17. Arizona fans, albeit prematurely, were already questioning the decision to hire Rodriguez on Twitter.
Graham's team showed exactly what fans were hoping it would show in a game against a weaker opponent. In the Wildcats' case, it will be a case of wait and see. Toledo was not expected to be that big a challenge. The weeks to come will show whether Toledo is more than expected or if Arizona is less than expected.
Unfortunately for the Cats, they face an Oklahoma State team that won their opener 84-0, playing against a defense that compares to Arizona's. Arizona State hosts Illinois.
If the two coaches were really battling one another, round one would definitely go to Graham. ASU, at least for now, is in the lead of a hypothetical competition.