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Updated Nov 20, 2012 - 6:25 pm

ESPN analyst: Arizona closer to being a 'factor' than Arizona State

Arizona's head football coach Rich Rodriguez, right, congratulates Richard Morrison (8) for a kickoff return for a touchdown against Washington during the second half of an NCAA college football game at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/John Miller)

Rich Rodriguez and Todd Graham were hired by their respective schools about the same time.

They each will have led their teams to bowl games in year one, surpassing all expectations placed upon their programs.

When asked which team is closest to competing for a Pac-12 South championship, though, ESPN NCAA football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said it's the team in Tucson.

"I think Rich Rod, because of his style of offense, if he gets the personnel to run it I think they can be a factor," he told Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf Tuesday. "With Arizona State, I think it's going to be a little bit more of a challenge.

"I think that Todd Graham is a coach that knows how to coach offensive football but I think it's going to take time to get the personnel up to the level where they can compete with the upper echelon on the Pac-12."

Herbstreit believes the caliber of teams the Arizona schools will be competing with in the conference is high, making it tough for either to consistently be near the top of the standings.

"What is realistic? I think every five years," he said. "Both of those programs should be able to get to a level where they're competitive enough to challenge USC and UCLA."


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