Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Where Do We Go From Here?

At last comes the moment the college football world has been anticipating all week. No, not the epic Michigan/Ohio State's The Chop Shop's take on the resignation of Jeff Bowden! Can you feel the excitement?

There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Florida State football program in the wake of the loss to, well...Wake, and the subsequent resignation of JB. Something this huge deserves preferential treatment, so without further ado we present a very special mid-week Good/Bad/Ugly covering the aftermath of the game and the potential future for the Seminoles:

The Good
- First and most importantly, congratulations to my brother Stephen for getting married on Saturday! As Best Man, not only did I watch my little brother get hitched, I managed to avoid watching most of the catastrophe that occurred at Doak Campbell on Saturday night.

- Ironically the loss to Wake may have been the best thing that could have happened to FSU in the long run. It had been clear for some time that changes had to be made, but with FSU remaining competitive (albeit against sub-par competition) there was always an out for Bobby. In his interviews he could always point to a couple of mistakes that cost FSU the game, and for some reason the fact that these mistakes happened every week didn't seem to bother him. Well, there's no way to sugarcoat a 30-0 home shutout at the hands of a team that has less talent at literally every position. You couldn't blame injuries or youth for the complete lack of effort the team showed against the Demon Deacons. I said a while back that things were going to get worse before they got better - well, on Saturday night they got much, much worse. But the silver lining is that FSU finally has a chance to improve an offense that has weighed down the team for years.

"So let me get this straight - I've sucked at my job for
six years, but if I quit now you'll pay me HOW much?!?"

- Looking at things from a larger perspective, the loss will allow FSU to join the rest of the ACC in a badly-needed coaching overhaul. UNC got the ball rolling when they euthanized the John Bunting era and upgraded to Butch Davis. FSU is finally rid of Jeff Bowden. Miami is sure to fire Larry Coker soon, and hopefully NC State and Virginia will join the party after the season. In order for the ACC to blossom there had to be some serious pruning of the coaching ranks and it looks like the job is well underway.

- I promised more details on my experience at the game so here you go: after the wedding reception was over my brother-in-law Nick and I made our way to the stadium just in time for the fourth quarter. The security guard tried to stop us at the gate but I, emboldened by about a dozen Jack & Cokes, dashed past him into the stands. Of course, in doing so I completely abandoned Nick, who lives in Japan and had no idea where he was. Sorry buddy! I'm still not sure how security didn't catch up to me since I was still wearing my tuxedo and surely must have stood out among the 20-30 people that were still at the game. Anyway, I remember sitting in the stands with my head in my hands for awhile, and when I finally looked up everyone was gone and the field was empty. Now I'm a naturally inquisitive person so I started to explore a bit, and that's where things got wierd. Not only did I wind up getting into the luxury boxes and both locker rooms (FSU's is sweeeeeeet), but I eventually made my way out onto the field where, for the first time in my 24 years as an FSU fan, I stood on the 50 yard-line at the Doak! Apparently if you're wearing a tux people will pretty much let you go wherever you want. However, the night pretty much went downhill after that as I had no idea where Nick had left my car since I went to the reception in the wedding party's limo. I spent the next three hours limping around campus (those tuxedo shoes SUCK!) trying to make my way to the Civic Center. Many thanks to the kids at the Tennessee Street house party who gave me beer and cigarettes! And many apologies to Nick and my sister, who spent most of those three hours driving around looking for me. My bad. Anyway, in spite of FSU taking it's worst home loss of my lifetime it was a pretty fun night for me personally...

- A hidden benefit of the loss is that it inadvertently screws Florida's shot at the BCS Title Game. While Southern Cal closes their schedule with Cal, Notre Dame, and UCLA, the Gators will play I-AA Western Carolina and unranked Florida State. Assuming they both win out the Trojans will have better wins on their resume than the Gators, and although UF's loss to Auburn isn't as damaging as USC's loss to Oregon State the Crocs need to finish with a flourish to make up some ground. With USC already ahead in the BCS standings and their stronger schedule down the stretch, it's completely possible UF may not be able to catch the Trojans thanks to the weakness of FSU, and that fact gives me more pleasure than it should.

Any time a Gator gives you crap about
Jeff Bowden just show him this picture

The Bad
- Poor Xavier Lee! After watching Drew Weatherford get chance after chance Lee finally ascended to the starting QB role for Florida State. One of the great high school players in the state's history, it was obvious that Lee possessed physical gifts that Weatherford couldn't match and the team was more dangerous with him on the field. Well, I shouldn't say "obvious" because the coaching staff apparently couldn't see it. I don't have a problem with Lee being pulled from the game after throwing his second INT. I have a problem with him not being re-inserted into the game after getting coached up (assuming Darryl Dickey is actually capable of coaching anyone up), and as much as I love Drew I have a BIG problem with Weatherford being named the starter against Western Michigan. Anyone with eyes can see that Lee gives FSU the best chance for long-term success, and the steadfast refusal to give X a fair shake may go down as the biggest of many, many blunders made by this coaching staff.
Please don't go, X!

- One can only assume that more changes are in store for FSU after JB's resignation. Whoever the new OC turns out to be I can only assume he'll be allowed to bring in a new staff to replace the incompetent Dickey and the ineffective Mark McHale. So Bobby's choice for the new OC is of the utmost importance. However, based on his past few hires I can no longer say with certainty that I trust Bowden to make the right choice. For years and years Bobby enjoyed perhaps the best staff in the college football but in the last six years the only new hire that's worked out has been LB coach Kevin Steele. JB, Dickey, McHale, and Joe Kines were all disasters and I have my doubts that the trend will change when Jeff's replacement is brought in.

- Though I didn't watch the game it wasn't really necessary...I've seen that game every year since 2001. The play-calling was awful, outrageously stupid penalties cost us scoring chances, and you got the feeling the field was tilted at a 30° angle with the 'Noles playing uphill all day. I saw that game in 2001 against UNC, in 2002 against Notre Dame, in '03 against Clemson, in '04 against Florida, in '05 against Clemson and UF, and in 2006 against...well, just about everybody. It's been a tough century for FSU fans.

The Ugly
- I'm not so sure the new Offensive Coordinator will be picked by Bobby Bowden. I recently wrote that he would stay for at least two more years, but in the wake of JB's resignation you have to wonder if Bobby sees it all slipping away. Everyone knows he didn't want Jeff to leave and he's understandably upset about the way things have gone down. Nobody wants to see Bowden go out this way, but at this point in his career if he feels like he's losing control over the program he built from the ground up he may just decide to walk away - wins record be damned - and that would be a shame after all he's done for FSU. As much as I hated seeing the offense suffer and the team regress, I've always felt that Bobby deserved to go out his way, and this ain't it.

- FSU sits in one of the toughest recruiting regions of the country with Georgia to the north, Alabama, LSU, and Auburn to the west, Florida to the east, and Miami to the South. Any hiccup in recruiting can lead to a talent void that will be tough to make up. In addition, even one down year can lead to a situation down the road where you find yourself with a young team devoid of senior leadership...kinda like this year! FSU was already expected to struggle in recruiting this season but we may see a Chernoble-level meltdown if things really go sour. I'm already expecting Dionte Allen and Ahmad Paige to bolt, and they're FSU's only four-star commitments at this point. You can bet that the rest of FSU's recruits have been getting calls from coaches all over the southeast. This will bite us in the ass down the road, mark it down.

- The team did something on Saturday we haven't seen all year: they quit. Never a good sign. How will they respond after all the turmoil surrounding the team? Suddenly a win, even against Western Michigan, doesn't look like a sure thing. Yikes.

Through it all I'm proud to be a Seminole fan. Keep your head up 'Nole Nation for better days are ahead of us. Good luck to the team this weekend, and as always GO NOLES!!!


At 10:39 AM, Anonymous NoleCC said...

"- A hidden benefit of the loss is that it inadvertently screws Florida's shot at the BCS Title Game. While Southern Cal closes with Cal, Notre Dame, and UCLA the Gators with play I-AA Western Carolina and unranked Florida State. With USC already ahead of UF in the BCS standings and playing a tougher schedule down the stretch there's little chance the Crocs can catch up thanks to the weakness of FSU, and that fact gives me more pleasure than it should."

LOL. It's sad when we can take pleasure in that, but it brings a smile to my face too.

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Halleck T. said...

Does Jeff's half a mill buyout change how we view his exit?

At 8:31 AM, Blogger JTS said...

What sort of contract did JB have to get a $500K buyout? I can't imagine he was getting paid much more than $100K a year and I doubt he had 5+ years left on the contract. The guy got 5+ years worth of salary to quit and do nothing.

I just have to wonder if Florida State is going to end up like Penn State.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger mobius said...

I'm more worried about becoming UGA circa the mid-'90s when Bulldog fans had a perfectly average program and a crappy coach, yet they couldn't understand that it wasn't the '80s anymore and they weren't going to content for title anytime soon. It was sad to watch. Well, more funny than sad, but you get my point...

At 1:06 PM, Blogger JTS said...

I don't see the similarities with UGA. Dooley retired. I don't think that Bobby will ala JoePa.

At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You, and your friggin' Noles are toast next Saturday against my beloved GATORS! Ohio State was GATOR BAIT when everyone said we didn't belong on the same field with them. We welcome you to the SWAMP for a hearty dose of humiliation. The last time FSU was a worthy rival, the price of gasoline was $1.33/gallon. Only GATORS leave the SWAMP alive. Chomp Chomp!!!!

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it's me, Mr. Cohen again. Today's date is November 25th 2007
As predicted, my beloved Gators put a whippin' on your talentless Noles to the tune of 45 - 12. Some of our Central Florida high school teams like Lake Brantley High would have made a better showing against the Gators. Your linebacker, Geno Hayes, was popping off at the mouth before the game that Tebow was going down. Geno should know that he was right, afterall. Tim Tebow is GOING DOWN IN NCAA HISTORY AS THE MOST PRODUCTIVE QUARTERBACK EVER, ON THE GROUND, AND IN THE AIR. 22 TD'S PASSING, AND 22 RUSHING. Geno Hayes is a pussy!


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