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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

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.

Matt Zemek is the co-editor of Tennis With An Accent with Saqib Ali. Matt is the lead writer for the site and helps Saqib with the TWAA podcast, produced by Radio Influence at radioinfluence.com. Matt has written professionally about men's and women's tennis since 2014 for multiple outlets: Comeback Media, FanRagSports, and independently at Patreon, where he maintains a tennis site. You can reach Matt by e-mail: mzemek@hotmail.com. You can find him on Twitter at @mzemek.

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Florida State Seminoles

ACC releases FSU and Miami dates for 2020 opponents

Florida Football Insiders

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlantic Coast Conference released their conference schedule for 2020 on Wednesday morning, and we now know the opponents and the order of conference games for the Seminoles and the Hurricanes.

First, for Miami. They already knew that they were opening the pre-conference schedule with Temple at home on Saturday, September 5th, and there toughest early test will likely be at Michigan State three Saturdays later.

Now, the ACC revealed the Canes will begin the conference season on October 3rd with a game at Hard Rock stadium against Pitt.

Miami will play their only non-Saturday ACC game six days later on a Friday night in Winston-Salem, NC, against Wake Forest.

Miami also has home games with North Carolina and then the Seminoles, which comes on November 7th. The Hurricanes will also play at Virginia, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech before finishing the season on Saturday November 28th back at home vs. Duke.

As for the Seminoles, they come off of a loaded pre-conference season where they are playing West Virginia in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend Saturday September 5th. And, they are playing at Boise State in the return game for last year’s upset loss on September 19th in Idaho.

FSU learned Wednesday, that they will open at NC State on Saturday October 3rd. The Noles and first year coach Mike Norvell, then get four time defending champion Clemson, as their second ACC opponent the following week in Tallahassee.

Then, they also host Wake Forest on October 17th. FSU’s remaining road games are at Louisville, Miami and Syracuse. The game against the Orange will be on Thursday night November 19th.

Florida State’s final ACC home game will be with Boston College on the previous Saturday, November 14th.

As part of the ACC schedule release, UCF learned that they will be playing Friday night September 4th in their home opener with North Carolina. That game to be televised nationally by ESPN.

The Knights already knew that they would be playing Georgia Tech in the pre-conference schedule on September 19th in Atlanta.

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Florida State Seminoles

Cristobal Oregon Rose Bowl win reminder of what Taggart left

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Aas the Oregon Ducks celebrated a Rose Bowl victory New Year’s night in Pasadena, one angle to think about was the events of the last couple of years, as it relates to Willie Taggart abandoning their program just one year in, but Mario Cristobal staying behind and leading them to great things.

First, the Ducks won a thrilling 28 – 27 addition of the New Year’s Day classic over Wisconsin to cap off a 12 – 2 season. NFL prospect quarterback Justin Herbert threw for three touchdowns and ran for the eventual game-winning score in the win:

And, off the heels of a Pac-12 Championship upset of Utah a month ago, Cristobal is now “riding high” with the momentum of one of the best football brands in the West.

He posted later on Wednesday night a special thank you to the Duck fans and alumni for now being part of the program and their success:

Interestingly, his connection to come to Eugene was Taggart being hired three years ago at this time. The former USF coach needed someone that understood offense and recruiting and brought the former FIU coach, Cristobal with him to the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon had some success but also suffered five losses, and the next thing you knew Taggart jumped at the chance to take over at Florida State. There were many who reported and believed that Taggart wanted to bring Cristobal and defensive coordinator, Jim Leavitt, with him to the Seminoles.

However, Oregon AD Rob Mullens was so impressed with Cristobal in the interview process and having seen him up close for  year with the team, that he ended up promoting him to be the head coach. And, he gave Leavitt a fat raise to remain, as the defensive coordinator in Eugene.

And, as it turns out, that sunk Taggart from the very beginning on having two former head coaches to come and help him not only with the X’s and O’s but with recruiting in Florida which they are both Masters at.

Instead, Florida State completely unraveled in just a few short weeks of play in 2018 Cristobal helped the Ducks get to a bowl game.

And, that led to this season and great anticipation as Oregon opened at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium the home of the Cowboys with powerhouse Auburn. Auburn beat the Ducks with a touchdown in the final seconds, but it would be their only loss for the next 10 weeks.

In the meantime, Taggart got himself further in trouble with early-season losses and eventually fired on November 3rd after a 27 – 10 defeat to the Miami Hurricanes at home.

And as we stated above, the Oregon team excelled when it mattered the most establishing itself, again as the team to beat in the Pac-12 with their two postseason wins.

Now, FSU has gone on to replace Taggart with the very successful Memphis coach, Mike Norvell, and there is some optimism about his arrival in the Panhandle.

With Norvell in charge in 2020, the Seminoles will likely open with a win total of 6.5, down a game from last season according to this site here. And, while Norvell is a solid hire, FSU has its usual tough slate next season hosting Clemson and Florida, while facing Miami and Boise State on the road. The Noles are likely to be underdogs in another road date with resurgent Louisville too.

So, coming off a 6-7 year, FSU should consider it a success to have this team over .500 in his first season.

Now, back to Cristobal.

There is an argument that Oregon may not have enjoyed the same success with Taggart as the head coach, as they did with Cristobal taking over. Still, with Herbert at quarterback, it’s very likely that Oregon would have at least had a seven or eight wins season in each of the last couple of years and going to a bowl game again.

Do they go 12-2, win the Pac 12 and eventually, the Rose Bowl with Taggart? That’s a stretch to believe after how dismally he coached in Tallahassee.

And, since his firing, Taggart scrambled to find the head coaching job at Conference USA, Florida Atlantic, while Cristobal is looking at a significant raise to be at a Powerhouse Pac-12 program after a Rose Bowl win.

It’s a perfect example of a cliche in sports, that: “sometimes the best move, is one that you don’t make.”

Taggart should have never left Oregon and Cristobal was smart not to.

And, eventually, he ended up the head coach.

A head coach who was holding up a Rose Bowl trophy with his team in Pasadena Wednesday night

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