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Florida State Seminoles

Jimbo Fisher boasts about ACC being the best

Florida Football Insiders

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We love hype and hyperbole that builds up to the college football season and conference media days are perfect for this. On Thursday, FSU boss Jimbo Fisher did not disappoint in “throwing down the gauntlet” on behalf of the ACC.

Backed with ammo of Clemson having won the national title last year and FSU having won one four years ago (both head to head against SEC foes), plus two of the last four Heisman winners, Fisher led the charge in Charlotte.

Here’s a clip of what he had to say during one of the media sessions:

When you consider that FSU and Clemson have made the first three College Football Playoffs, Louisville has the reigning Heisman winner (Lamar Jackson), and the ACC has won the Orange Bowl game five straight times, there’s even more merit.

But, here’s another truth, too: the conference has to be more than just FSU and Clemson duking it out for national relevance.

Part of that occurred a year ago when the Cardinals demolished FSU and put more points on the board than any opponent in previous history. That game paved the way for Lamar Jackson’s Heisman win, but Louisville also faltered badly being blown out by Houston and LSU in their bowl game with a devastating collapse to rival Kentucky sandwiched in between.

The UNC Tarheels behind QB Mitchell Trubisky also stunned FSU at Doak Campbell in October, but also got humbled by VA Tech the next week and had losses to rivals Duke and NC State. Then, also lost to Stanford in their bowl game finishing 8-5.

And finally, the Miami Hurricanes are still trying to work their way back under Mark Richt. His first year started with four wins, but then, incurred four straight losses. Now, they did turn it around winning the final four ACC games and wiping out West Virginia in the bowl game for a 9-4 finish. Still, they weren’t relevant on the national landscape by mid-October. And the Canes record against FSU and Clemson the last three years is 0-4.

So when the conference wants to brag, and there are facts and trophies behind them, you get to air it out:

And Jimbo’s FSU team has won six straight against the SEC including their title win over Auburn in 2013. So, he has reason to boast in July.

But the Noles and Tigers can’t be the only ones doing damage.

And for Florida State, Alabama looms on September 2nd in Atlanta and no amount of talking will help in that battle.

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Florida State Seminoles

New FSU coach Norvell says he won’t coach Cotton Bowl

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Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
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When Mike Norvell left his Memphis Tigers just after they had won the American Conference Championship Saturday game to take the FSU job, there was some debate about whether he would return to coach his old team in their upcoming Cotton Bowl?

However, the new Noles boss announced late Tuesday morning that he’s coached his final game for the Tigers and won’t be able to be with them in Dallas when they take on Penn State:

Norvell sent an open letter to the Memphis students and fan base saying it was a difficult decision, but that his focus has to remain on immediately rebuilding Florida State:

“It is with tremendous sadness announcing that I have coached my last game leading that great team. With the transition to a new opportunity and a restricted calendar, which is unique to this year, I will not be able to coach the Cotton Bowl.

As I have told the team throughout my time, you give everything you have each and every day to the best of your ability focused on your CLIMB, and I could not stand in front of them without being able to prepare to the level they deserve. The team is in great hands with the administration, the coaching staff and the leaders on the team will continue to do what they have been trained to do and RESPOND.

I will always support and cheer for the Tigers and will forever be a Memphian. Maria, Mila and I are excited for our future in Tallahassee and at Florida State University, but MEMPHIS, we love you.”

Norvell was torn about staying with the Tigers, as he just Led them to their most successful season in program history. Their 12-1 record coupled with the Championship game win over Cincinnati Saturday has put them in a New Year’s Six Bowl game for the first time in program history.

Memphis has named Norvell assistant, Ryan Silverfield, as the interim head coach and he may end up being given the full-time job.

As a comparison, former UCF coach Scott Frost left Orlando for his alma mater, Nebraska, but came back with his staff for practices and coached them to their Peach Bowl upset of Auburn in January of 2018.

As for Norvell, he is already moved quickly and tabbed his former assistant Kenny Dillingham, as his new offensive coordinator. Dillingham left Memphis just this season and had been the offensive coordinator at Auburn.

It has also been reported that Norvell will keep Odell Haggins as assistant head coach for defense.

That move was expected, as Higgins has twice served as the interim head coach in the last three years, is heavily involved in the Noles recruiting and has been with the program as a player or as a coach for 30 seasons.

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Florida State Seminoles

Mike Norvell subplot for FSU-Arizona State Sun Bowl

Matt Zemek

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
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New FSU head coach Mike Norvell will not coach the Seminoles at the 2019 “Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl “(what a great bowl name, right?). However, he is part of the story of this game, a tale which contains several plot twists.

One fundamental aspect of the Norvell story in El Paso might throw Seminole Nation a curveball: Norvell is part of the backdrop to this game for reasons which are better known by Arizona State fans than Florida State partisans.

Remember this: Mike Norvell used to be Arizona State’s offensive coordinator. Norvell guided the ASU offense under former head coach Todd Graham. Norvell jumped to Memphis four years ago from ASU.

This year’s American Athletic Conference championship and Group of Five championship – leading to a Cotton Bowl berth for Memphis against Penn State – were won by a quarterback who transferred from Arizona State: Brady White.

Mike Norvell, it could be argued, is the man who should have succeeded Todd Graham in Tempe, not Herman Edwards. Interestingly enough, when Herm was hired to replace Graham after the 2017 season, the whole coaching staff was not cleaned out. Two Graham holdovers stayed on the 2018 staff in Tempe, Arizona: John Simons and Rob Likens.

Simons lasted one year. Then he went to Memphis to follow Norvell. Likens, ASU’s offensive coordinator this past season, was just fired by Edwards, who wants to remake his offensive staff.

I know of an offensive mastermind ASU could have used: Mike Norvell. He could have given structure and dependability to ASU’s offense, but the Sun Devils and athletic director Ray Anderson had other ideas. Now, ASU is searching for the right offensive coordinator, a sign that the last two seasons haven’t made the grade in the desert.

Florida State fans can relate to the notion that the past two seasons of football have been the equivalent of chasing one’s tail. The Seminoles, like the Sun Devils, have gone nowhere. One could make the argument that in Arizona State’s case, the reality has been worse the past two years than it has been for FSU.

At least Florida State knows that even if it did moderately well in 2017 and 2018, Clemson was still sitting there as the roadblock to the playoff or top-tier national relevance. Arizona State didn’t have that kind of a colossus in its own division, the Pac-12 South, which makes a pair of 7-5 regular seasons seem like an even greater missed opportunity to rise in the ranks.

Mike Norvell is certainly the man Florida State fans hope will guide their program to renewed prominence. Yet, ask anyone in Tempe: Arizona State fans wish that when Todd Graham was fired, his former offensive coordinator could have replaced him.

Mike Norvell is trying to become the fulfillment of Florida State’s hopes and dreams. He is also the man with the exact skill set Arizona State football currently needs… but doesn’t have.

Norvell is not just at the center of the Florida State story. This Sun Bowl in El Paso will remind Arizona State fans of the guy who got away.

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