Some FSU fans, myself included, have found themselves in a pretty negative place since the losses to Boston College and then the Gators last Saturday. The "Fire Bowden" chants have even started up again. This time, however, they are not directed at a much-maligned Offensive (in every sense of the word) Coordinator, but toward the Legend himself. The men's basketball team has managed to stay undefeated so far, but still shows the lack of consistency that has been then trademark of the Leonard Hamilton era . The black clouds of coming arrests and an NCAA verdict still hang over the intersection of Gaines and Pensacola streets. But, lest we forget, there are some silver linings around those clouds.
The past seven years have been pretty forgettable for Florida State football. Aside from a 10 win season in 2003, the Noles haven't lived up to the lofty standards set in the 80s and 90s. Many of the younger fans have become jaded with a program that just isn't what it used to be. But there is hope. The jury might still be out on the team's performance under Jimbo Fisher's leading, but what can't be disputed is that the guy in charge on offense finally has a plan. We are back to recruiting based on personal scouting and relationships, not national lists and hearsay. We seem to be developing players that fit our gameplan, and developing gameplans that fit our players, and we began to reap some of the benefits this season. If we can get the same kind of infusion of enthusiasm on the defensive side of the ball, whether it be from new coaches or a renewed focus, I have no doubt Florida State will return to the top of the polls within the next three years.
The basketball team has become a victim of expectations. Watching Tim Pickett-led teams was a treat. We didn't have nearly the talent of the Dukes and UNCs of the world, but you felt like Tim would hit every shot if he had to in order to get us into the game. But we didn't make the tournament when Tim was here. With a little talent and a lot of hard work, Al Thornton made himself an absolute monster of a basketball player. Fifty points didn't seem out of the question when Al was on. But we didn't make the tournament when Al was here. Leonard Hamilton has drastically improved the talent level of this team. He even brought in a number 1 recruiting class. But we didn't make the tournament when the number 1 recruiting class was here. But there is hope. With Singleton on the roster and Snaer coming in next season, we've got two more potentially great college basketball players. We've also been able to surround these guys with talented players. If Leonard Hamilton can coach any team to the Dance, it would be this one. If he can, we can all be excited. If he can't, we can all be excited about how full the cupboard is for the next guy.
The Florida State baseball team is the Brooklyn Dodgers of the NCAA. "Wait till next year." After an extraordinary run during the 90s, fans got accustomed to Omaha. When we failed to win a championship, fans got disgusted. Too many years watching a team win 50+ games in the regular season only to go cold in the post season turned off the casual observers and created doubt for the diehards. But there is hope. Last season might have been the most enjoyable baseball season I've seen since I became a Nole fan. This was a team that wasn't expected to do much. But they went out and fought hard, scrapped to the end, made the most of what they were given, and made it to the World Series. We saw Buster Posey become a legend before our very eyes. The last two recruiting classes have brought in quality players that fit our needs. I think everybody is anxious to see Kyle Long, a 6'7'' power hitting left-hander, get acquainted with the short porch in right field. We have some arms, we have some bats, and, after last year, we have some experience. The next few years could be good to FSU fans.
In the non-Big Three sports, FSU is probably better than it has ever been. The women's basketball team puts the men's to shame in regards to tournament appearances and national rankings, and Coach Semrau is starting to bring in some very talented and coveted recruits. Women's volleyball and softball have new coaches that are attempting to bring those programs back to their former glory. We have one of the top golf programs in the ACC, if not the country. Our swimming teams compete for ACC titles. The track and field team is phenominal. Three National Championships... in a row. I guess we better find some land around Mike Long Track to build another statue and stained-glass window. If not for the Men's track team, Florida State would be known as a Women's soccer school as they have gone to the College Cup four of the last five years.
So are there things to be concerned about? Yes. Are there reasons to feel down? Yes, especially in light of the University of Florida at Gainesville's recent successes. But keep your head up, Seminole Fan, because the future is still bright.