The Arizona State Sun Devils sent shockwaves across the college football betting world Sunday, moving on from fifth-year head coach Herm Edwards after a disastrous home loss to Eastern Michigan on Saturday night.
Edwards had his highs and lows in Tempe during his 46-game tenure, winning 56.5% of his games and taking the Sun Devils to four bowls.
He also oversaw a program that was implicated in a slate of major NCAA violations, surrounding assistants’ recruiting tactics during the COVID-19-related dead period.
As a result, Edwards joined the myriad of his former assistants on the firing line, while AD Ray Anderson is tasked with searching for the school’s fourth head coach since Dennis Erickson was fired in 2011.
Arizona State returns to the field Saturday, playing host to No. 13 Utah at 6:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN. Sports betting in Arizona has the Sun Devils as a 15.5-point underdog.
BetArizona.com surveyed the country to determine who Anderson and President Michael Crow should call first as they look to replace Edwards.
Candidates to Replace Herm Edwards
Why We Think Norvell is the No. 1 Candidate
It’s been a rough road for Norvell in Tallahassee, going 11-13 across two-plus seasons at Florida State, after leading Memphis to a .704 winning percentage across four seasons.
Although the Seminoles are off to a 3-0 start, they are still a longshot on Arizona sports betting apps to win the ACC — tied for sixth at +2000.
Norvell has deep ties to Arizona State, having served as former coach Todd Graham’s offensive coordinator, QB coach, and assistant head coach between 2012 and 2015.
He’s familiar with all the areas the Sun Devils will have to hammer to get their recruiting back on schedule, having grown up in the Dallas area, before serving as an assistant at Tulsa and in Tempe, to go with a brief stint at Pittsburgh in 2011.
Norvell is slated to receive $3.75 million in 2022, which is less than Edwards made at ASU ($3.8 million), which means the program should be able to afford him.
One also has to wonder how much longer Norvell wants to tread in the shadow of FSU giant Bobby Bowden and former coach Jimbo Fisher, who set lofty expectations at a place where expectations are loftier than reality.
Only Norvell can say whether he’s ready for a change of scenery, though it may be hard to resist the call of a former home, especially in a league that’s wide open (and about to be even more so with USC leaving).
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Other Candidates to Watch in ASU Carousel
The other top-line candidates to replace Edwards are desirable head coaches at programs with smaller budgets or outsized expectations, such as Jamey Chadwell (Coastal Carolina), Kalani Sitake (BYU), and Lance Leipold (Kansas).
Both Sitake and Leipold are coaching in (or soon to be) the Big 12, though one has to wonder how long either can keep their current mojo going.
Sitake has been nothing short of magnificent in Provo, going 50-30 across six-plus seasons at BYU.
His ceiling might be going 8-4 and reaching the Armed Forces Bowl at BYU, however, as the program transitions to the reconfigured Big 12 in 2023.
Chadwell has been a tour de force at Coastal Carolina, turning a former FCS program into a mid-major juggernaut, with a 33-19 record and consecutive 11-win seasons with the Chanticleers.
His name has been bountied about for pretty much every Power Five job opening of late, though one could see ASU being an attractive destination for a mullet-totting, fun-loving coach like Chadwell.
Leipold has been the story of the year in college football, building a moribund Kansas team into a 3-0 offensive juggernaut that seems poised to post its first winning season in 14 years.
The former Buffalo and Wisconsin-Whitewater coach has won everywhere he’s been and seems to have figured out what it takes to win in the Siberia of the Power Five (Lawrence). Could he be talked into bigger and better things in Tempe?
Leipold is slated to make $2.8 million in 2022 with a $5 million buyout.
As much as the message board clientele would like to see Anderson and Crow swing for a big-name candidate (Urban Meyer), it seems they’re much more likely to go off the beaten path.
For now, the job falls squarely on the shoulders of former Chandler High School coach Shaun Aguano, who is tasked with serving as the interim coach through the conclusion of the 2022 football season.