Todd Graham: The Man Who Stopped Karaoke

Arizona Sports News online

There’s a bar and grill in South Tempe where, on most Saturday nights, people gather to either sing or listen to karaoke.

To those people who were upset that they didn’t get to hear the weekly rendition of “Tell Laura I Love Her”, and want to know who to write to in protest, as a public service, I will now reveal the name of the man you should direct your frustration to:

Todd Graham

Head Football Coach

Arizona State University

Saturday night, if someone in that establishment had taken the ASU-Washington game off the TV’s in favor of putting up the words to karaoke songs, the only tune that would have been requested would have been “Hit The Road Jack”.

ASU’s 13-7 upset of then-number five Washington was not, to be certain, a thing of beauty. Washington made mistake after mistake, from burning a time out early in the third quarter trying to decide whether to kick a long field goal, to the kicker himself missing two chip shots, which would have made up the six point deficit.

ASU was lucky too. Manny Wilkins’ pass to Ceejay French-Love was good fortune of the highest order. When you consider all the things that have gone against ASU the last year and a half, simply put, they were due. You show me a good college football team, or a good team in any sport, and I’ll show you a team that the sport’s Gods smile on every so often.

Maybe Chris Petersen’s view point on late night Pac-12 games has changed. He’d better hope no one on the East Coast saw what happened.

In that bar and grill, everyone inside was transfixed on what was going on in Sun Devil Stadium. They roared when Jake Browning was sacked for an eight yard loss in the fourth quarter. When French-Love hauled in the pass that effectively sealed the win, high-fives and cheers were in abundance.

Okay, skeptics. We know what you’re thinking. Of course people were cheering – Phoenix only backs winners.

Still, we’ve been led to believe that Graham and his football program have alienated the fan base to a degree that a win like Saturday night’s would have been met with quiet approval and nothing else. Chances are the cheering in South Tempe was not due to the fact the patrons were spared the weekly singing of Sweet Caroline. Well maybe a little.

Obviously, with six games played and six to go, the story of Arizona State football 2017 is a long way from its final chapter. They can’t expect Utah to mismanage timeouts, or USC’s kicker to miss from 27 yards.

Speaking of which, how many of you shrugged your shoulders when ASU signed placekicker Brandon Ruiz last February 1st? There are programs in college football that claim to get the best of everything, but the nation’s best kicker in high school football last year didn’t end up in Tuscaloosa, or Columbus, or Tallahassee. He’s in Tempe, and you can best believe a few people in Seattle wish Ruiz was there.

Some people just can’t help themselves, and they’ll refuse to stop painting the picture of doom and gloom come November. If you don’t mind, I’ll just spend the next week enjoying the good feeling I had Saturday night. Que Sera Sera.

Which, by the way, is another Karaoke song Todd Graham saved the patrons from.