Bobby Bowden's future at Florida State is tenuous.
Jim Smith, the chair of Florida State's Board of Trustees, told the Tallahassee Democrat that the 2009 season should be Bowden's last as the Seminoles' coach.
"My hope is frankly that we'll go ahead, and if we have to, let the world know that this year will be the end of the Bowden Era," said Smith, a 1962 FSU alum and a former Florida secretary of state and state attorney general. "… We are dependent on the goodwill and the financial resources of thousands of people to make this program work effectively. And we don't have any goodwill out there right now. … People have had it."
In the wake of a 2-3 start – the school's worst since 1976, Bowden's first year – pressure is mounting on the Florida State icon to step down at the end of the season. Back-to-back losses to South Florida and Boston College – along with a near home loss to FCS member Jacksonville State – has heightened the criticism of Bowden and a program that has slumped badly this decade and is 0-2 in the ACC for the first time.
According to Warchant.com, Bowden has met with athletic director T.K. Wetherell and discussed a retirement package. The Board of Trustees also has been talking via phone and there seems to be a strong consensus about this being Bowden's final year.
Rumors of coaching staff strife abound. It all may be traced to the fact Bowden has delegated most of his daily duties to others, including head-coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher. In addition to Fisher, FSU also as an executive head coach (Chuck Amato) and an associate head coach (Mickey Andrews). Who is in charge?
If Fisher doesn't assume head coaching duties by the end of the 2010 season, he'll be owed $5 million. While Fisher has received some heat for the team's offensive struggles, expect him eventually to take over. And, no doubt, there will be staff changes. Among them: the expected retirement of Andrews, the team's long-time defensive coordinator.
The season is quickly slipping away. But, given the mediocre nature of the ACC, Florida State still has a good chance to extend it current streak of 27 consecutive bowls, the longest in the nation.
Bowden has done many great things at Florida State, leading the program to an unprecedented run of 14 consecutive finishes in the AP Top 5 from 1987-2000. Bowden also won national titles in 1993 and 2000. But since 2001, the Seminoles have won 10 games in a season one time.
Illini bench Juice
Illinois has benched senior quarterback Juice Williams for Saturday's home game against Michigan State. Junior Eddie McGee will get the start.
Williams was inserted into the starting lineup as a true freshman in 2006, but inconsistency has been a hallmark of his career. This season, Williams has completed 57 percent of his passes for 519 yards with four interceptions and one touchdown. He is the 12th-rated passer in the Big Ten. Williams also has run 14 times for 76 yards this fall.
McGee has completed 19 of 30 passes for 211 yards with one TD and two interceptions this season. He played in 10 of 13 games in 2007 and was in five last year as a quarterback and receiver. McGee has completed 50 of 90 passes for 703 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions in his career. He also has run 65 times for 302 yards and four scores.
Illinois is looking for a spark after a 1-3 start. The last two games, the Illini have been outscored 65-17 in losses to Ohio State and Penn State. Illinois' lone win this year has come against FCS member Illinois State.
Louisville QB quandary
Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe won't announce who will be his starting quarterback for this week's home game against Southern Miss.
Junior Justin Burke started the first three games. When he got hurt against Utah, Louisville started junior Adam Froman in a home loss to Pitt last Friday.
"I don't want anybody to know who the quarterback is," said Kragthorpe, whose lone win this year was against FCS member Indiana State. Then, he clarified, "I don't want Southern Miss to know who the quarterback will be.
"Either one of those guys is going to be fine, I've talked to both of them. I'll let the practice situation be what it is during the week and you guys will find out when we walk out there on game day."
Burke, who began his career at N.C. State, bruised his sternum and shoulder against Utah. He has gone 1-2, completing 47 of 92 passes for 649 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Froman, a JC transfer, completed 18 of 30 passes for 166 yards against Pitt.
S. Miss loses Davis
Southern Miss has lost starting sophomore quarterback Austin Davis for the year with a foot injury suffered in an upset loss to UAB last Thursday.
Davis started the first 18 games of his career and ranks fifth in school history in passing yards (4,293) and TD tosses (33). This fall, Davis completed 108 of 156 passes for 1,165 yards with 10 touchdown passes and two interceptions for 3-2 Southern Miss.
Junior Martevious Young is slated to take over as quarterback.