One very powerful Florida State official — and the board he chairs — has publicly stated that his school should listen to overtures from the Big 12 if they come. One former trustee has publicly stated that those overtures have already come, and they came from the Big 12.
On two occasions since all ‘Nole broke loose over the weekend, FSU president Eric Barron has attempted to tap the breaks on the rampant speculation, and has even made a very strong case to boosters and alumni for the athletic programs to remain in the ACC. While it may not matter as much now as it would’ve even a few years ago, Barron’s pro-ACC stance has one big supporter in the form of the man responsible for turning the Seminoles football program into a national powerhouse.
In an interview that will air Sunday morning at 9 a.m. ET on the SiriusXM show College Sports from All Angles with Jack Arute, Arute asks ex-FSU head coach Bobby Bowden what his message would be to his former school in regards to future conference affiliation. His response? In essence, get your football program in better shape and get back to ruling the ACC before even thinking about moving to a higher-quality football conference.
“My message would be stay in the ACC,” Bowden told Arute in a transcript provided by SiriusXM. “Do you want to win a National Championship at Florida State? You’ve got a better chance in the ACC than you have in the Big 12, or even the SEC.
“You say, ‘Well, gosh, they’re much stronger in those conferences.’ Yeah! They beat up on each other and you can’t hardly get there. You know what? Florida State, wait ‘til you get good enough to rule the ACC then you start looking for someplace to jump. But my opinion? They should stay right where they are.”
Those comments will likely not sit well with FSU supporters, some (most?) of whom blame the current state of the football program on Bowden and his decision to “cling” to the job until being forced out after the 2009 season.
Like Barron, Bowden cited increased travel costs in other, non-revenue sports as a reason for FSU to stay right where it is. He also disputed claims made by Derrick Brooks, the former FSU All-American linebacker and former school trustee who stated during a radio interview Wednesday that “[a]s far as I know, the Big 12 reached out to us.”
“All this talk about Florida State, it kinda tickles me because, in the first place, I don’t think the Big 12 has even talked to Florida State,” Bowden said. “I could be wrong. I hear different opinions.
“I think the president of Florida State is correct. Florida State, you’re in the ACC, it’s a nice solid conference. Stay with them. You know, I can’t see Florida State joining the Big 12 to gain three million dollars. How much is it going to cost to fly the girls’ soccer team, the girls’ basketball team, the boys’ baseball team out to Norman, Oklahoma, or out to Kansas to play? They’ll gobble that three million up so quick they won’t know what it’s like. I think we need to stay right where our base is, that’s right here on the east coast.”
It remains to be seen whether the people who are actually still in power at the school and will ultimately make the decision on conference affiliation, up to and including the board of trustees, concur with the line of thinking put out there for public consumption by Bowden and Barron.