I am new to the site but already I have found tomahawknation.com to be the absolute finest source of information and insight to FSU athletics. After reading for about 3 months I finally decided to post my own thoughts. I haven't seen anything on this particular topic but feel free to correct me if it's already been covered.
I am a 1998 graduate of FSU and former Chief. Anyone who is around my age will remember the "good old days"; I certainly do as a student from 1994-1998, probably the best possible years of FSU football I could have asked for (aside from being one year late and one year early on both ends for the two championships). I had a Numerical Analysis class with Warrick Dunn and we studied together at my apartment on numerous occasions. For me, that was almost as good as studying with a hot coed at the time seeing as how rabid I was about FSU football. I got angry, really angry when we lost and carried myself to cloud 9 whenever we won a huge game. I was a regular on call-in shows and followed recruiting almost as closely as Ronnie Cottrell. ;) I watched every down of every FSU football game from 1993-2005 when I just couldn't take it anymore, relegating myself to watching most of every game to eventually missing some games in 2007, 2008 and this season out of pure despair and embarrassment.
All that has been said to illustrate my frustation, jealousy and questions about how UF has seemed to do everything right and we have done everything wrong. Obviously we all know how the hiring of Jeff Bowden was a debacle and set the decline of our program into action. We all know about the rest of horrendous decisions that have led us to where we are now. My question is, how did we do this and how has Florida has done so much better?
- How did our administration/athletic department allow anti-nepotism to be skirted and Jeff to be in control of our offense for so long while Florida's administration took quick action when their poor choice wasn't working out?
- How on earth did we join the ACC, the nation's best basketball conference, and fail to do anything but make the tournament a couple of times while somehow Florida got Billy Donovan and a list of blue-chip recruits and win two national titles, playing in the SEC at a weak basketball school?
- How did we ignore what was in the best interests of our program and school by allowing the football team to drive off a cliff of poor recruiting and general coaching apathy while the Gates recruited dream teams and installed high-end coaching immediately instead of this "coach in waiting" business?
- How did we not take the lead in state football recruiting while Zook was making a mess in Gainesville?
- Most importantly, how have we tolerated this since 2001 while Florida tolerated it for what, 2 seasons, max?!
I will never be jealous of Florida for ANYTHING, no matter how well they do in athletics, with the exception of the decision-making of their administration and athletic direction. I am so jealous of this, I really am. It disgusts me that our biggest rival has had maybe one little misstep (Zook) and has since set their program into 1980s-Miami mode and 1990s-FSU mode while we are stuck with 20th-century-Duke mode for going on 9 years now.
Is the reason for this really Bobby Bowden, that Florida never had a legend, a program-builder, so they never had to worry about firing a beloved figure on the college football landscape? Or is it just better administration/politics/athletic direction at UF (never thought I'd be saying that about Jeremy Foley)? Is it the fact that we are so immersed in the good-ol'-boy network and UF isn't? (I can't imagine that either)
I'm just overly dismayed and frustrated knowing that we are going to get blown out again by Florida. All of my frustration with the general state of FSU athletics has just culminated in the prospect of another thrashing by the Gates. I would love a synopsis of how we've screwed everything up and Florida has risen to prominence. More than anything, I just want to be competitive again and not have to rejoice at coming from behind to beat a 2-8 team in the final minutes. Perhaps we needed this long period of mediocrity to take the spoil out of FSU fans that became so accustomed to starting the bus at halftime. Forgive me if I'm foggy on the history of some things and unaware of the reality of our current situation, but I'm just looking for some answers. More importantly, I'm looking for some action, and I mean soon.