On the same weekend that the University of Miami upset Oklahoma and completed an impressive four-game stretch, it is clear that the end of an era is coming for Florida State.
When head coach Bobby Bowden is forced to defend himself as vigorously as he did in the moments following the loss to Boston College, you can tell that even he knows that the pressure is mounting against him. Bowden told reporters “What would I gain by stepping down now? What would you do? Fire everybody and bring in a new coaching staff?”
When veteran FSU beat writer Steve Ellis – who has covered the program for years and even wrote a book with Bowden – is now saying it’s time for him to go – then you know that Bowden is running out of allies. The Sentinel chimed in with the same theme.
Plus, it’s apparent right now that Bowden will never catch Joe Paterno. He’s fallen three games behind the Penn State legend and right now it appears highly unlikely that the NCAA will reverse itself on the decision to strip Bowden of 14 victories due to the cheating scandal that caught up the entire athletics department.
One big problem, of course, is the fluid situation at FSU. Hate to diverge into politics, but the fact that President T.K. Wetherell has already announced his resignation could also play a role in how this plays out. Wetherell himself could force Bowden out since he’s got little to lose by the decision. Or on the very least, he could persuade Bowden that it would be in his best interest to step down before a new president is selected. In other words, T.K. could give Bowden a way to exit somewhat gracefully and have him avoid a confrontation with the next administration.
That way Wetherell would at least have tried to resolve the situation as he heads out the door instead of handing his successor a mess to figure out.
But then again will a new president go along with handing the job over to Jimbo Fisher with no questions asked? Or will a new president be willing to pay $5 million in order to have complete control moving into the future. Wetherell probably has no way of knowing that, but he does have to decide what he wants the next president to deal with.
It is such an unfortunate way for Bowden to exit the stage. Without him there would be no FSU program to speak of. No nice stadium, no national championships. Many boosters would likely say Bowden earned the right to go when he wanted.
But now it’s clear that’s not going to happen. The only remaining question is when and where Bowden will make it official and say he’s walking away.