The SEC begins its annual gathering in Hoover today, which means Talking Season is officially here. As each FBS head coach takes his turn in front of the microphone to tell the media how excited he is for the upcoming season -- that is still, by the way, eight weeks out from actually kicking off -- one has been asked by his superior to tone down his enthusiasm.
Arizona State's Todd Graham has been noted for pushing his team for championships the Sun Devils haven't won in a long time, or ever. The Sun Devils haven't played in the Rose Bowl since 1997, haven't won it since 1987 and are still in search of their first national crown. That hasn't stopped Graham from talking about them, though.
“When I walked in here at the (introductory) press conference, I talked about winning championships," Graham told the Arizona Republic this spring. “And people probably didn’t pay attention, but that’s what we always talk about and you know what, I genuinely mean the things I say. I’m not just saying them. We win those five close games – and we very easily could have – we would’ve won 11 games (last season), and I think what I said would’ve been pretty accurate.”
They didn't win those five close games, though, and after proclaiming in preseason that his 2015 Sun Devils squad would be the best he'd had since arriving in Tempe, Arizona State clunked its way to a 6-7 finish.
So as Graham heads to Hollywood later this week, Arizona State AD Ray Anderson has issued a request for a toned down preview of his 2016 team.
"One of the things, very frankly, that we're trying to do better around here is to talk less and deliver more," Anderson said in a recent radio interview. "We'll be minimum on the bravado and all the predictions about greatness and just let our play speak for us."