After back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2013 and 2014, Arizona State was a program on the rise in the Pac-12.
The Sun Devils had won the Pac-12 South division title in 2013 and finished second in 2014. Going into the 2015 season, some -- including our own Tom Fornelli -- felt the Sun Devils were going to be a darkhorse contender for the College Football Playoff. However, none of us could have foreseen the effects that one (at the time) under the radar move made by coach Todd Graham in the offseason would have.
When Graham arrived in Tempe in 2012 from Pitt, he decided to embrace the Pac-12 lifestyle, eschewing the traditional headset in favor of a slender microphone that made him look like if *NSync added a sixth member ... and it was one of their dads.
Graham started with an all-black microphone in 2012 but changed to the cream color in 2013, keeping it through the 2014 season (as pictured above). In 2012, the Sun Devils went 8-5, finishing second in the Pac-12 South and beating Navy in the Fight Hunger Bowl.
However, things really took off for Graham and the Sun Devils when he went to the cream colored mic. While wearing the cream mic, Graham's Arizona State teams went 20-7, won the Pac-12 South division once and went 1-1 in bowl games. At this point, everything was wonderful, spirits were high and Graham's hair was unbothered by the normal constraints of a headset.
Then in the 2015 offseason, Arizona State got a sponsorship with AT&T and Graham ditched the boy band mic in favor of the traditional headset. Since then, the Sun Devils have gone 11-11 (0-1 in bowl games), finishing fourth in the Pac-12 South last year and are currently fourth in the division this season.
Do you see what you're doing to Todd Graham? Look at the pain on his face here.
It's clear what needs to happen in Tempe. Let Graham bring back the boy band microphone and make Arizona State football great again.