Arizona State stunned the football world with a dramatic, thrilling win over Oregon on Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.
Now, I’d like to shock the world with an analogy for Herm Edwards.
Through nearly two seasons of the Herm Edwards experience which started with one of the most bizarre introductory press conferences ever and most recently includes the stunning upset as a two touchdown underdog against a potential College Football Playoff team, Edwards has intermittently dazzled, confused and had stretches of underwhelming progress.
Herm Edwards is the Elon Musk of college football head coaches.
Musk is the master of a product announcement/unveiling that leaves the world with breathless anticipation of it transforming or disrupting a major industrial sector.
Herm has perfected the attention grabbing, shocking upset that creates a tremendous amount of buzz around the program with a clear path towards changing the narrative around the Pac 12 South.
Except that’s where the sizzles seems to stop. For both.
From last year’s win over Michigan State to its upset over Utah at home to this year’s impressive road win over Michigan State and now its playoff altering upset of the Ducks, Herm has had his moments.
But last year’s Michigan State win was followed by a loss at San Diego State and ASU promptly lost four of their next five.. Its Utah home triumph in 2018 was followed by underwhelming football the rest of the season.
This year, their impressive win in Big 10 country over Michigan State with a true freshman QB was quickly followed up with a gut punch loss to Colorado at home. Then, they improved to 5-1 only to be embarrassed by Utah. A 4 game losing streak preceded Saturday’s electric moment but UofA looms on the horizon.
This is Elon Musk’s business strategy. Every product announcement stirs fantasies about upending massive industries. Electric cars, underground high speed trains, rockets to Mars, a CYBERTRUCK!
And then once the press conference comes and goes, normalcy returns to the industry and to the company. Tesla is still an innovative but ultimately shaky company trying to do something that many others have tried, but few have accomplished.
The most recent headline for ASU beating Oregon came at a perfect time. Faith in the program was fading, despite the impressive contributions from freshman all over the roster. Herm’s charm, once fawned over by fans and media alike was now being turned against him. He was a controversial Joe Rogan podcast appearance away from changing his name to Herm Musk.
Herm’s next great moment with ASU will come when the program thrives in the shadows. Winning games when no one is watching. Ignoring the appeal of national attention to double down on the fundamentals of beating beatable teams.
Can he do it? You only have to wait until Saturday to find out.