Florida State Falls at Boston College, 28-21, as Bowden Shows He Has Lost All Control of Seminole's Program

It was a game the Seminoles had to have to save their season.  It was a game Bobby Bowden needed to silence the doubters who declared that he was done, and had lost control of his program amidst coaches undermining each other and worse, fighting each other in practice.  Players and coaches openly arguing on the sideline, and the head coach nowhere to be seen.  The result is clear.  Bowden has caused Florida State to crumble.  

The reasons are these: average recruiting, poor coaching, lack of leadership.  Florida State Football Alum and ESPN Gameday Host Lee Corso

Bowden has lost control of his program, and it's clear that the players have nowhere to look for leadership.  If Florida State allows Bowden to stay for next year, at 80 years old, it will be a clear message that the administration believes he is more important than the program.  Recruits are not willing to come to Florida State.

Boston College's offense is awful (amassing less than 60 yards against Clemson just two weeks ago), yet FSU's defense may be the worst in the ACC, allowing the Eagles to rack up over 400 yards.  The Noles defense, under terrible coaching by Chuck Amato, Jody Allen, and Mickey Andrews, allowed touchdown drives of Drives of 9 plays for 79, 11 plays for 88 yards, 6 plays for 65 yards, and 7 plays for 80 yards.  Again, the Noles allowed 7 plays of 20 or more yards, and also have the distinction of allowing Boston College's longest pass and run of the season.

Play Type # Yards
Run 35 198 (5.4)
Pass 23 211 (9.2)
Kneel-down (end of game) 2 -8
Total (no Kneel-downs) 58 409 (7.1)

As they had in every previous game, the Seminoles allowed over 5 yards per carry (not counting sacks, which are of course the end result of a passing play), as Boston College rushed 35 times for 198 yards, an average of 5.7 yards per carry.  FSU's defensive players were consistently out of position and Boston College exploited them all day.  And it was much much worse than even those numbers show.  Boston College racked up 238 1st half yards, amassing a 21-6 halftime lead, gaining over 7.4 yards per play.  After that, the Eagle's offense went into a prevent, just trying to run the clock out with a 15 point lead, and in the 3rd quarter threw only 2 passes to go with 11 runs, but did manage to burn off almost 7 minutes, while gaining only 47 yards on 13 plays (3.6 per play). 

But the Eagles would have to get out of their prevent offense because FSU's offense came alive, putting together a 91 yard drive to cut the score to 21-13.  FSU's defense forced a punt as BC was still in "run the clock" mode.  Florida State marched 84 yards for another TD.  The 2-pt conversion was good, and the game was tied.  Boston College then fumbled (on a good run, no less), and FSU missed a field goal.  Boston College took the ball with 7 minutes to go, elected to not run the clock, and marched on an 80 yard drive for the touchdown.  FSU couldn't answer, and that was the game.

FSU now sits at 2-3 overall, and the team clearly has no direction.  Their hopes in the ACC Atlantic Division are now dashed (because unlike Clemson and some other Atlantic contenders, they do not get to play Duke or Virginia).  With Christian Ponder and an offense that has put up 400+ yards in two of the Nole's 3 losses, FSU has a chance to be close in most games, but with a defense that is not just below average by FSU's standards, but far below average nationally, particularly in the coaching category, the Noles don't stand much of a chance and will struggle to make a bowl game.  

There are two takeaways from this game.  First, Bowden is killing Florida State's program.  It would be nice if he could stay at practice for the entire time, but it's probably unreasonable to expect an 80-year old with singles to put in the hours required to be the CEO of a multi-million dollar organization.  Should Nole fans expect their $2.5 Million coach to be informed before he makes costly decisions?  Second, Boston College's offense could move the ball whenever it pleased.  The defensive numbers are incredibly deflated because the Eagles simply shut it down for a little over a quarter.  This game was not as close as the score indicated, and while coach Bowden will likely blame the players again, citing that the Noles were just "1 play away", that is simply not the case.  The Noles are a coach away, and it's dumb to expect anything other than maddening inconsistency and underachievement until a change is made at the top. 

The solution is simple.  Promising young coaches must be allowed to work unimpeded (and without active sabotage from disgruntled older coaches).  FSU is close enough that they could see an enormous improvement in 2010 if they make the coaching change.  It might be too late to salvage even a decent recruiting class, however, and the only way to save that will be to make the change.  One thing's for sure, those inside the program worried about Bowden dragging down their reputation and thus future job prospects, will only get louder as they continue to leak details about the dysfunction caused by Bowden.

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