It's been an ugly half-decade, and ugly start to the season, and an even uglier week for ol' Bobby Bowden, what with a veiled call for his head coming from his head-coach-in-waiting and less veiled statements from the chair of the Board of Trustees, the student body, and talentless bimbos.
Even Bowden's wife, Ann, jumped into the fray with an impassioned defense based on fundraising because the need for meaningful wins seems to have escaped both of them.
Bowden got a stay of execution this morning in the form of a statement from President T.K. Wetherell, in which the University declined to fire him mid-season.
I want to assure all fans, friends, supporters and alumni of Florida State University that [planned] transition will be finalized. Jimbo Fisher will be Florida State University's next head football coach. We expect to work with Coach Fisher on a contract toward that end, and I will evaluate the program with the athletics director at the end of this season.
We also expect our teams to be competitive...I will respect the process. FSU does not make coaching changes in the middle of the season.
But it appears to be only that: a stay of execution. There's probably not a pretty solution that will do justice to both the legendary (and gosh darn stubborn) coach and the players, boosters, and fans committed to a now-flailing program.
Wetherell hinted that that end could come as soon as December or January, when, though "any coach can chose to retire at any time," he "will evaluate the program with the athletics director at the end of this season."
Bowden clearly can't stay on. The program was already suffering the affects of old people's love of cruise control when they set up a succession plan and brought in a top-notch staff to make up for it. They failed to realize that Bowden's increasingly hands-and-headset-off approach would leave a nasty leadership vacuum resulting in wildly uneven performances, a near miss with the dreaded "loss of institutional control," and -- reportedly -- second-in-commands physically fighting each other for control in front of players.
It's unfortunate that Bowden's final days will follow a flurry of debate and criticism from a once-devoted and grateful following. But is anyone to blame but Bowden himself? He hasn't run practices in years, hasn't even known the names of all his players, and passed up his chance for a 12-game victory lap when he insisted he stay in place in spite of seven or eight years of decline.
He wanted to write his own end, and unfortunately, the end may be what people remember for a while.