Bobby Bowden must be hearing the tic-tock. He just doesn’t realize it is not a clock, but a bomb about to change the face of college programs across the country.
With yet another loss Saturday, the Seminole fans are moving out of their polite “let him retire on his own terms” mood, and into lynch mob mentality. This season will almost certainly be Bowden’s last, but the stress in the program may be too deep for FSU to follow their succession plan.
When offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher was pulled to Tallahassee from LSU, it was under the promise he would be the next Seminole head coach. If the university decides to go in another direction, they will owe Fisher a tidy sum, but there is drama in the ranks.
It is now Monday night as I am banging away on this. Rumors are circulating the sports blogs. FSU moved their usual Monday press conference to Tuesday. One poster is slandering Bowden with unsubstantiated stories of gambling debts and thrown games.
Many of the current assistants are at odds, and Fisher is not popular right now with his cohorts, players or in the community in general. This forced marriage is not working out and reports of shoving matches between assistants are circulating.
The man does not deserve this. FSU does not deserve this.
For the good of the program he built, Bowden needs to announce his retirement at the end of the season, and allow the Seminoles the opportunity to settle on a course. If Fisher is the next FSU coach, there will be a flood of assistants on the market. Chuck Amato would be a nice pick up as a defensive coordinator. (Attention, coach Richt!)
Amato has head coaching experience at N.C. State, and worked with Richt at FSU.
If, however, FSU decides to scrap their plans of promoting Fisher, a turnstile will open. The hottest prospect for the moment would have to be Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly, who led the Bearcats to the Big East title in 2008 and a current top-10 ranking. Of course, Chris Peterson of Boise State, along with his current top five ranking, will also be in demand this off season.
Fisher would take the year off, return to LSU, hop to the NFL, or even land a head coaching job somewhere else. Kelly or Peterson would likely accept a position at FSU and bring in new blood and attitudes.
Peterson would be my first choice, but there is another name out there that may also be in the mix. A name with an impressive record, ties to Bowden and FSU. A name that has been under some pressure lately. Hopefully things will settle down in Athens, the Bulldogs will get through the season at 7-4, and nothing more than a new defensive coordinator will be needed. If not, seismic shifts may take place and the Dogs could be the team looking at coaches from Cincinnati and Boise State.
Right now, 7-4 is the best possible outcome for Georgia. A loss to Florida is almost certain, so that means the Dogs have to sweep Vandy, Auburn and Georgia Tech to get there. That might be possible if Prince Miller would suit up and play for all three opponents. Then Joe Cox could have a Heisman day like Jonathan Crompton just did, but I’m pretty sure the NCAA won’t allow such a penalty.
So 6-5 is really more likely, and the Dawg Nation will be restless. Hopefully calmer heads will prevail, Richt will return, and he will do the honorable thing by helping coach Martinez find a new job. Our coach has a history of showing such class, but that trait is never appreciated as much as wins. Just ask Bobby Bowden.
By Mike Flynn