I’ve been busy, but now that I have some time- I think we have a large enough sample size to judge this team.
When Mora came here, there were cries of doom. Once he won 3 in a row, there was celebration that he would do a “miracle turnaround”. Like most of the time, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Tomorrow’s game will say a lot about this football team and Mora in general.
But before we compare our team with ASU, let’s compare with other coaches to see what are reasonable expectations this year:
These are records for head coaches’ first year in college:
Pete Carroll: 6-6
Nick Saban: 9-2 with Toledo (1990), 6-5-1 with Michigan State (1995)
Les Miles: 4-7 with Oklahoma State (2001), 11-2 with LSU (2005) LSU 2004 was with Saban
What this tells you is that: good coaching usually improves with time. But what is also significant is that recruiting has a much larger impact than pure coaching. Coaches headed towards programs with a solid base are much better off than coaches headed towards programs without years of solid recruits. In addition, recruiting is often a positive feedback loop- good recruits tend to go to winning programs, which in turn leads them to garner more good recruits.What Mora HAS done this year is turn a pretty dismal recruiting class into a pretty decent class.
This leads to the next big thing about recruiting: Rick’s first year of recruiting was great, but his subsequent classes have stunk. With any new incoming coach, recruits are more likely to jump on board, but this will fade next year. It’s up to Mora to keep up the decent recruiting.
With all that said, it’s pretty clear that you can’t judge Mora based on this year. NEXT year, however, will be extremely telling. (We’re also going to play against Oregon next year for a regular season game, so I’m probably going to be sad after that one. Oregon will be good at least for the next 4 years.)
So in short, what would be a good season this year? A good season this year would be any one of the following:
1. 7 wins
2. Win the South Division
3. Beat USCw
With regards to ASU, I think we should be able to pull it off. That Cal game, however, has given me plenty of doubts. With so many freshmen starters, inconsistency is really what defines our program right now.