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Florida State Seminoles

Bowl Games Worth Watching

Ari Russell

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(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)
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Now that we have the Bowl line ups in tact, there are a few match ups with the Florida schools that has me very interested. Obviously I’m going to be watching the Russell Athletics Bowl between West Virginia and Miami on December 28th. That’s a cool match up as the Canes are coming in red hot winners of four and this will be a game between two former Big East foes. Here are two other games that I’m going to be excited to watch:

Birmingham Bowl-December 29

South Florida vs. South Carolina 

Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama 

This game interests me because the USF offense is one of the best in the country. They will be taking on Will Muschamp’s Gamecocks. What we do not know at this point is whether or not Willie Taggart will still be the head coach of the Bulls when they play this game. The word around the camp fire is that Taggart is getting some looks for some bigger jobs. There’s a chance he sticks around, but it will be all depend on what kind of money gets thrown in his direction. Even if he does take another job, he still could coach the team in the bowl game, but that may be unlikely. Still should be a good game regardless.

 

Capital One Orange Bowl- December 30

Florida State vs. Michigan

Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida 

This one should be a great one. Michigan is going to come in with a chip on their shoulder. After their controversial loss to Ohio State, the Wolverines were in a touch spot to make the CFB Playoff. You Know Jim Harbuagh is going to motivate his troops to get them going for this game. On the other side of the ball, this will likely be the last time we see Dalvin Cook in a Seminoles uniform. The all time leader in rushing at the school will have one more game to highlight his skills as we know he’s playing on Sundays next year. This game has the makings of being a real barn burner.

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

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Florida State Seminoles

Report- Bob Stoops no longer candidate for FSU job

Florida Football Insiders

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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

At FSU continues to look for a replacement for Willie Taggart, you can scratch one prominent name off the list.

Friday afternoon the Tallahassee Democrat reported the former Oklahoma coach, Bob Stoops, is no longer a candidate for the vacancy:

Reports previously were that Stoops was one of the leading choices to take over the floundering Seminole program, and that Florida State may have already extended a massive offer to him.

However, Stoops, who coached Oklahoma from 1999-2016 and won a BCS National Championship against Florida State in the 2000 Orange Bowl, wants to instead keep his job as coach and general manager of the Dallas Renegades of the reboot of the XFL this February.

Stoops had also refused to deny being interested/linked to the Seminoles job, at a public Q & A for the XFL in Dallas last week.

There is obviously a financial concern for Florida State of not only the buyout that they still owe Taggart, which is believed to be somewhere around $17 million, but the potential buyout of another established coach, plus that coach’s salary for 2020 and beyond.

We wrote earlier this week that current interim coach Odell Haggins could be an excellent short-term solution for a lot of the needs that Florida state has, including financial resources.

Haggins coached the Noles to a dramatic 38 – 31 win in Boston last week over the B..C Eagles, which has now put FSU in position to make a bowl game. They need only one more victory and play FCS Alabama State at noon Doak Campbell Stadium Saturday

It is still believed that Florida State is very interested in Stoops’ younger brother Mark, who is the current coach at Kentucky, and is the former defensive coordinator for four seasons (2009-12) with Jimbo Fisher in Tallahassee.

The Democrat article also mentions that Memphis coach Mike Norvell, Penn State coach James Franklin and Iowa State coach, Matt Campbell, are candidates that FSU will seriously consider.

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Florida State Seminoles

Argument for keeping Odell Haggins as FSU coach

Florida Football Insiders

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Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

As FSU enters their second week of trying to solve their coaching vacancy situation, the best immediate solution maybe staring right at them in interim coach, Odell Haggins.

Haggins oversaw Florida State’s dramatic 38-31 win at Boston College Saturday, which coupled with his two victories as interim coach at the end of the 2017 season has already demonstrated, in a small sample, that he has promise as a head coach. FSU will play FCS Alabama State Saturday and will likely win easily and assure themselves of a bowl game, too.

As for the search, there are three important factors in the Seminoles interviewing for the replacement for Willie Taggart.

One, the leadership in Tallahassee needs to bring stability to the program. The departure of Jimbo Fisher to take a more lucrative job in the SEC with Texas A&M and then with the dismal results from Taggart, who had only coached in a Power 5 situation for one year at Oregon, have the Noles in turmoil.

Florida State needs someone who can calm and reassure players, potential recruits, boosters and anyone else, that they’re going to get back to their winning ways. Preferably, someone who’s been there.

Two, FSU has to be concerned in the short-term with recruits “bailing on them” due to the uncertainty the coaching situation. The early signing period is coming in the second week in December. And, Florida State, right now, has one of the top 5 recruiting classes for next year in the country. But that could evaporate over the course of the next 21 days, if they are not reassured.

And finally, what can the Seminoles actually afford? With Taggart’s massive buyout, believed to be $17 million or so and the fact that FSU will have to likely buyout an established head coach for more significant money, and then, pay their salary, money is definitely a concern in the short-term.

So when you analyze Haggins, who’s been an assistant coach or a player at Florida State for 30 years, he is a solid “yes” on all three of those, above.

He would clearly bring stability, as he is Florida State through and through, including being part of Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher’s National Championship staffs/teams.

Two, Haggins has been intimately involved in FSU recruiting for the last two decades. He helped hold the recruiting class together two years ago in December, when Fisher left. And, he has been instrumental in talking to recruits right now during the transition period for the next coach.

And finally, the money concerns could be alleviated, at least on a short-term basis, with hiring Haggins as the coach. He will cost significantly less to promote than the names like Mark Stoops, Mike Norvell, etc. would cost.

FSU could explore even a one or two-year option on a deal with their longtime defensive line assistant, and Haggins would probably be willing to do it for all of the reasons above. This would also be a good short term option in keeping the staff together, like offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, and potentially, elevating Jim Leavitt to defensive coordinator, if they/Haggins would like.

Again, Florida State may be able to land a proven head coach coming up and afford their buyout.

But, if they are not able to do that in short order, Odell Haggins appears to be an excellent option to continue to bring short-term stability and success that’s affordable.

And those are three “wins” that FSU needs right now, too.

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