3-point stance: Todd Graham's decision

1. You can bend your brain into a pretzel trying to justify Todd Graham’s move to Arizona State after one season at Pittsburgh. ASU is a bigger, public school with more resources. It’s a sleeping giant. It’s close to the mother lode of talent in Southern California. Blah, blah and blah. When you justify that, start in on Graham’s decision to notify his Panther players via text. “I like to be really connected to my team,” Graham told me in August. If Arizona State wanted him that badly, it could wait for him to call a team meeting.

2. At first glance, the decision of Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn to take the head coaching job at Arkansas State doesn’t make sense, not when Malzahn was in the running for jobs at North Carolina and Kansas. But you have to remember that Malzahn coached Arkansas high school football for years. He is returning home, where he’ll have a head start in recruiting. If he wins at Arkansas State, bigger schools will find him. They always do. Ole Miss found his predecessor, Hugh Freeze.

3. Graham presented the me-first side of college coaching. They don’t all act that way. Gary Cavalli, who runs the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, told me this story about Frank and Cheryl Beamer. A few days after Virginia Tech played in Cavalli’s San Francisco bowl, Cavalli got a letter from Cheryl. The Beamers hadn’t had time to fill their courtesy car with gas before dropping it off at the airport. The letter included $20 for the gas. After Cavalli closed his dropped jaw, he returned the money.