College football fans oscillate between “everything’s wonderful” and “fire the staff” on a weekly basis. It’s worse than any other kind of sports fickleness. Even if fans believe that their team is in a rebuilding year and they admit to themselves it’ll be a rough season before the first kickoff, they’ll still lose their minds and start demanding blood once the L’s roll in.
The most recent example of this is taking place at Florida Stae, who just took a loss at my beloved Alumni Stadium at the hands of 25-year old Freshman Dave Shinskie and the rest of the Boston College Eagles.
Stories are floating around in both the local and national press (go on, look it up) about fans and trustees demanding that longtime head coach Bobby Bowden retire after 33 years. They’ve been a couple of notches below the expected elite level for most of the 2000s, and the rumblings have been growing ever-louder. But they reach a head with every lost, with diehards becomming irrational and demanding everything from an immediate press conference announcing a resignation to Bowden being escorted off of campus by security.
Watching a coach on the hot seat provides a creepy kind of pleasure, especially when you know that the end will be soon upon him. It’s like witnessing the destruction of an empire after a long decline. You can’t help but study it with the rapt attention of a history major (well, an interested history major).
I, for one, believe it’s time for him to go. But I’ve felt that way for years. Offensive Coordinator Jimbo Fisher has been the head coach in waiting for a while. Bowden doesn’t call offense or defense, doesn’t recruit, and serves more as a grandfatherly media spokesman than any sort of on-the-sidelines leader.
That said, you have to let the man finish the season, and do it with dignity. It’s bad for a program when the coach turns over (no matter how ineffective the coach is), but it’s even worse for the coach to turn over midseason or amidst public turmoil. FSU fans should be rooting for a new coach, that’s for certain, but they should be rooting for Bowden loudly until then.