It brought the winning coach to tears.
It brought the losing coach to vow “to rebuild this thing and build it up the right way“.
“It” was Florida State’s thorough, sound and, at least from the perspective of one sideline, embarrassing 31-7 win over bitter in-state rival Florida. “It” was the Seminoles, for at least the 2010 season, morphing into the big dog standing tall atop the state’s talent-rich recruiting porch.
In the end, the loss didn’t mean much record-wise for the Gators; is there really that much of a difference between 8-4 and 7-5 when you start the season ranked No. 4 in the country? For FSU, though, in the first year of the post-Bobby Bowden era, it meant everything. “It” meant everything to virginal head coach Jimbo Fisher, who can now point to Nov. 27 and show those teenage players “See? See what we have here?” as he plows the Sunshine State’s fertile recruiting fields in the coming months.
“We had to reestablish ourselves in this state,” Fisher said, as if to send advance notice to the high schoolers he and his staff will be wooing in the coming months.
Oh, and there’s also that little matter of a division title and a spot in their conference’s title game to consider as well.
Thanks in large part, every part, to North Carolina State’s loss to Maryland, the Seminoles have claimed the ACC’s Atlantic Division crown and earned the right to face Virginia Tech in Charlotte next Saturday night. Whoda thunk that at the beginning of November?
Fisher, that’s who. And to do it with the University of Florida providing the season-ending backdrop in his first year at the helm?
“Florida has been as good as anyone in the country the last six years,” Fisher said. “This puts us up at 9-3, puts us in the ACC championship, so that makes us relevant for a BCS bowl, so that puts you back in national prominence. And I ain’t saying we’re here to win it, but we’re headed in the right direction.”
The right direction may be where the Tallahassee school is headed, but what of that national powerhouse down in Gainesville? Urban Meyer and the Gators will be heading into this offseason with their worst record since Galen Hall in 1988 stuffed firmly inside their back pocket. UF’s last offseason was dominated by Meyer’s indecision over his coaching future; this one will be dominated by the decisions he makes or doesn’t make regarding the coaching futures of some of his assistants as he attempts to right a listing and wobbly ship.
“The University of Florida expects to be an elite program, and right now we’ve dropped a bit,” Meyer said in the understatement of the year. “Coaches are all over the road tomorrow, so we are going to recruit our butt off to build this thing back up.”
Based on the results of the 2010 season, Meyer’s coaches might want to consider recruiting their asses off as there’s an old-turned-new obstacle on that talent-laden road they’ll be traveling in the very near future.