End of Bowden intrigue doesn’t clear up FSU mess

Sports Addict Gary Fineout

Sports Addict Gary Fineout

After a bit of delay, Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden signed a contract extension this week, thereby ensuring that Bowden will coach the Seminoles for at least one more season.

But this hasn’t stopped the blogosphere and talk radio from constantly buzzing about the mess that still surrounds FSU. First there is the still not completely explained reason that Bowden did not quickly sign his new deal. Then there is the pending NCAA investigation that hovers over FSU athletics with radio hosts on Tallahassee radio going as far to speculate that FSU could be forced to forfeit football games. Their take: Does Bowden really want to stick around if he dropped further behind Joe Paterno in the all-time wins list?

Bowden bashers have already weighed in with their dismay that he is still the coach, suggesting it is time to make way for heir-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher.

I just can’t get there. And no, it’s not that I think that Bowden has earned the right to decide when he should retire. I think it’s better to wait for another season and hope that this intractable situation will work itself out on its own. That’s because I am still not sold on Fisher – and – just as importantly I think that the search for Bowden’s successor should be a wide open affair at the time that Bowden actually steps down.

At this point in time, I could make a cogent argument that bounced Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden has credentials equal to Fisher. I’m not saying that Bowden’s son deserves the job, but you get the picture. FSU fans should realize that the entire world of college football could dramatically change in a season and they could have a whole host of good contenders to follow Bowden. And just as importantly, fans would get another year to see whether or not Fisher can return the team to glory. Plus, it will good to see how Fisher responds to pressure. There will be greatly increased expectations that the offensive unit will take a step forward with so many key players returning.

With another year, FSU and its fans can see whether its worth hanging on to Fisher or whether its worth paying him $5 million to go someplace else. Given the fact that Fisher has previously entertained offers to bolt the Seminoles there is a distinct possibility that he won’t stick around anyway. Yes, I know that he has a clause that forces him to pay FSU if he leaves. But I bet that both sides would be willing to waive that penalty if everyone thought it was good to part ways.

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