Jedd Fisch is taking over one of the most difficult jobs in all of Division One college football.
A program that has one Pac-12 title on its resume since joining the conference in 1978. A program that has a season ticket base far less than half of the 50, 782 seats in its stadium. A program that isn’t the big fish on campus.
Arizona Wildcat athletics has been and will continue to be a basketball first program, even after the Level One violations have come and gone. Fisch is taking over a program that completely missed on their last hire. I’ll be surprised if he’s in Tucson for more than three years.
If (and it’s a big IF), Fisch is the first coach to ever get the program to a Rose Bowl game, he’ll be gone to bigger jobs. If Fisch is another miss by Dr. Robbins and Dave Heeke, then all three of them may be shown the I-10 corridor to get out of town. This is not a job for the faint of heart (yes, Pullman and Corvallis are easier).
Fisch has a resume that is filled with stops (15 jobs in 23 years). In the last five seasons, his travels have been with the University of Michigan, UCLA, Los Angeles Rams, and New England Patriots. In fairness, that can be the life of a coach trying to make their name.
Still, how long is he going to be in Tucson? He said all the right things on Thursday to try and quiet that talk, but I don’t buy much of anything said by coaches or administrators on hiring day. Shoveling of manure has become an annual practice on days like Thursday. “Winning the Press Conference” is what the marketing and salespeople want, but the only result that matters is wins and losses.
Go listen to what was said the day Kevin Sumlin was hired and we heard plenty of the same on Thursday. Fanboy websites will proclaim the hire as amazing. Um, ok. Talk to me in a few years.
I find it interesting that the Arizona State fans (your team is 34-33 in the last six seasons) are so joyful over the Arizona hire. Herm Edwards coaching record is 17-13, a .567 winning percentage.
Herm has been terrific to deal with and create national buzz around the program through his former ESPN colleagues, but the fact remains the win/loss record is nothing special, and the “wait till our recruiting class hits next year” narrative always being pushed out has been the same since I came to Arizona in 1993. The scoreboard doesn’t lie.
The transfer portal and NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) will change the face of almost every college football program except the usual suspects (Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and a few others).
Both Arizona State and Arizona football are in very interesting times. Just because the Sun Devils clearly have the leg up on their in-state rival, doesn’t mean that there aren’t storm clouds all around them too.