Bobby, It’s Time To Step Down.


Bobby Bowden must retire or be fired.

Blasphemy, right?

I know, I know. He’s the second most winning coach in college football history. He has a career record of 384-123-4 and is 311-93-4 at Florida State. He was won 12 ACC championships. Bowden’s team finished in the top five every single season from 1987-2000 and that includes winning the 1993 and 1999 National Championships. Bowden built Florida State’s football program. In fact, Darrell Mudra, the coach prior to Bowden, was 4-18 in two seasons at the helm. In Bowden’s first season, he went 5-6. Bowden went 10-2 in his second season, which included a Tangerine Bowl victory, and never looked back.

Until now.

Bowden’s team has played in a bowl game every year since 1982 and hasn’t had a losing record since his inaugural season. After starting the season at 2-3, with one of the victories being a last second come-back win over Jacksonville State, the Seminoles are in danger of doing both this season.

Since FSU’s incredible run ended in 2000, Florida State has a record of 69-39. He has lost five straight games against Florida and has lost eight of the last 11 games against Miami. Florida State, which annually dominated the ACC and won the conference every year from 1992-2000, and also won in ’02, ’03, and ’05, has a record of just 17-17 in ACC play over the last four and a half seasons.

At one time, games were decided when the opposing team stepped on to the field at Doak Campbell Stadium. Not lately. Florida State has lost four of their last five home games (with the lone win coming against Jacksonville State).

After losing a heart-breaker against much improved Miami 38-34 to open the season, FSU followed that with a 19-9 victory over Jacksonville State. They trailed 9-7 with under a minute to go before scoring two touchdowns. Florida State then surprisingly blew out 7th ranked BYU 54-28 and things looked up for the Seminoles. But after back to back losses at home to South Florida (17-7) and at Boston College (28-21), things look grim in Tallahassee.

There have supposedly been several fights and arguments amongst the coaching staff. Rumor also has it that some of these arguments have developed into physical altercations. Of course, the Florida State staff and everybody affiliated with the school have denied these rumors and although they may in fact not be true, it’s clear that there is dissent among the coaching staff. Five different coaches have the title of “head coach” somewhere in their title. Bobby Bowden is the Head Coach. Offensive Coordinator Jimbo Fisher is the Head Coach in waiting. Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews is the Associate Head Coach. Offensive Line Coach Rick Trickett is the Assistant Head Coach. Linebackers Coach Chuck Amato is the Executive Head Coach. You saw the offense and defense putting the blame on each other as the Noles fell behind 21-6 against BC Saturday afternoon.

The finger-pointing will continue until something is done and that starts at the top. After last week’s loss against a lesser talented South Florida team, Bowden was seen laughing and did not look physically upset about the loss. When did Bobby Bowden become okay with losing? Why does he not seem upset by it anymore?

After the game on Saturday, Bowden has some interesting comments.

“What would I gain by stepping down right now? What would you do? Fire everybody and bring in a whole new coaching staff. You can’t do that, you know? I’ll evaluate myself. I’ll wait to the end of the year.”

Not only is Bowden clueless, but he’s also selfish. Maybe Bowden wouldn’t gain anything, but he would save himself from the embarrassment that he is bringing on himself, his coaches, and his players – his entire program. And what does it matter what Coach Bowden would gain anyway? It’s for the good of the team, his baby, the program that he brought to the top. I know deep down Bobby wants this team to get back to the top and he wants to be the man to bring them there, but he’s proven that he can’t. So, shouldn’t he hand over the keys to someone he can? No coach and for the matter, no player, is bigger than the program himself.

It got even worse on Sunday at Bowden’s teleconference.

“Fifty percent of the teams in the country last week got beat — 50 percent of them ,“Bowden said.

Florida State should not be just another team. They shouldn’t be compared with the rest of the country. They should be in the conversation with the Florida’s and the Alabama’s of the world. Right now, they’re not even close. And that’s apparently good enough for Bowden.

Even Florida State’s hometown paper, the Tallahassee Democrat, is calling for the Coach’s head. You can see the full article from Steve Ellis of the Democrat here.

As Bowden continues to coach, Florida State’s recruiting will continue to suffer. After the near loss to Jacksonville State, Four-star Defensive End Corey Miller (Byrnes, South Carolina) de-committed from the ‘Noles and changed his pledge to Lane Kiffin and Tennessee, joining his Byrnes teammate four-star Defensive Tackle Brandon Willis, who was also considered a heavy FSU lead. After the loss to South Florida, Valdosta, Georgia Four-star Offensive Tackle Ed Christian de-committed from the ‘Noles and has opened back up his recruiting.

With Miami on the rise and Urban Meyer ruling the college football world, Florida State can’t afford to fall behind in recruiting. Bowden’s refusal to retire and take some of his overmatched coaching staff with him is ruining all of the hard work that Jimbo Fisher and FSU Recruiting Coordinator James Coley have done. The Noles signed a top 10 recruiting class last season and that class included five-star players CB Greg Reid and DT Jacoobi McDaniel. The strength and lofty ranking of the class is mainly credited to Fisher and Coley.

Coach Bowden worked harder than any coach in the country to build Florida State into a dynasty – they were the most elite program in the country for 14 years but if he doesn’t retire at the end of the season, he’s going to leave Florida State just the way he found it, as just another school.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger an an avid college football fan. Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily. Look for his weekly college football blog tomorrow.)