Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Is Jimbo Fisher Leaving FSU?


This is not about expansion; it’s not about Florida State actively seeking Big 12 membership or the drama within the Big 12 when they realized they could actually add FSU.

This is about the fallout coming from FSU’s internal battle between Jimbo Fisher and his supporters on the Board of Trustees and FSU President Eric Baron and the growing possibility that the head coach of one of the most storied programs in college football could leave that program for one struggling in the SEC.

It sounds crazy doesn’t it?

Why would Jimbo want to leave FSU? He has many reasons to stay and weather the storm including the home field advantage in recruiting the Seminoles enjoy in Florida.  Jimbo has the support of FSU’s most influential boosters and the ear of the Board of Trustees. 

Why then would he consider leaving?

It was Jimbo Fisher, fearful of the SEC’s cachet and money, who began the push for FSU to leave the ACC. It was Fisher’s primary benefactors, Jim Smith (Former Chair of FSU’s Board of Trustees) and Andy Haggard, who lead the charge to apply the pressure necessary for Baron to see a change in conference membership was necessary.

Baron resisted leaving the ACC and used the Big 12’s own internal power struggle over expansion to solidify his support on the Board of Trustees and worked with the ACC to bring Notre Dame into the conference as a partial member.

Baron felt that Notre Dame would restore the luster of the ACC and help bridge the gap between the ACC revenues and those of the SEC, Big 12, Big 10 and Pac 12.

Fisher’s primary concern was his football program and he felt the Big 12 offered FSU a brighter future even with Notre Dame as partial member.

Fisher and his supporters pointed out the ACC’s shiny new relationship with Notre Dame helps the Irish far more than it does the ACC.

How does 1 home game with Notre Dame every 6 years benefit FSU?  Doesn’t Notre Dame’s partial membership just provide the Irish with more exposure in the fertile recruiting grounds of FSU?

Baron didn’t share Jimbo’s concerns. He was committed to the ACC and let it be known that football wasn’t his primary concern. Baron pointed out that the ACC granted FSU’s wish to go back to an 8 game conference schedule and Jimbo would have to be happy with that.

Jimbo was far from happy. His original fears concerning the disadvantage of playing of the ACC only grew worse when the Seminoles lost to North Carolina State. 

Jimbo understands what Baron does not -- ACC football does not have the creditability or respect of the four power conferences and the quality of their football is not even close.

The ACC doesn’t have a single BCS victory since the BCS system was implemented. It’s programs, with the exception of Virginia Tech, Clemson and FSU are not nationally respected as football powers. The ACC consistently loses out on recruiting battles with SEC schools and now, with West Virginia in the Big 12, the Mountaineers are a bigger recruiting threat than ever.

Now factor in the increased visibility Texas and Oklahoma  receive in the eastern U.S. due to WVU's Big 12 membership and the spectre of Notre Dame having the same once they become a partial member of the ACC. 

Fisher knows football and when he looks at the landscape in the ACC and the coming changes to college football he knows that even a storied program like FSU will have a hard time overcoming the anchor the stigma of ACC football puts on the Seminole’s championship football aspirations.

More importantly what concerns Fisher is his relationship with Baron and his new found understanding he may not get the support he needs from his administration to compete with the power conferences. 

Can Fisher count on Baron when FSU needs to match the SEC or Big 12 dollar for dollar? Can he afford to schedule enough challenging out of conference games to compensate for the ACC's poor reputation? 

Baron's actions tell Jimbo all he needs to know. 

And it’s that realization has lead  Jimbo Fisher to authorize his representatives to convey to both Auburn and Tennessee that he would be very interested in leading their football programs. 

WVU faced almost the identical situation in 2008 when Rich Rodriguez, still suffering from a devastating loss that kept WVU from the title game, wanted assurances from then WVU president Mike Garrison and former athletic director Eddie Pastilong that he would have all the resources he needed to pursue a national championship at WVU. 

Rodriguez left a meeting with Garrison disappointed that the president would not give him the support he felt the program needed and accepted the Michigan job shortly thereafter. 

Garrison made a mistake that set the Mountaineer program back several years and Eric Baron is about to make the same mistake.


*****

Just because Fisher has authorized his representatives to speak with Auburn and Tennessee doesn't mean he will leave FSU. It only means he has concerns about the level of support his football program will receive from the Baron administration.

This isn't the first time Jimbo has contemplated leaving FSU. Jimbo's people reached out to West Virginia after Rodriguez's departure from WVU and made it known he had interest in coming to WVU. Fisher's $2.5 million buyout was the official reason Jimbo never made it to Morgantown but others inside WVU tell me that Fisher was offered and accepted the job before factions within WVU's foundation refused to honor the agreement to cover Fisher's buyout. 




8 comments:

  1. "The ACC doesn’t have a single BCS victory since the BCS system was implemented."

    The BCS started in 1998.

    1999 - FSU over VT
    2008 - VT over Cincy

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  2. Hard to take you seriously when you consistently spell Eric Barron's name wrong.

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  3. Also hard when you get basic facts wrong. It was not Jimbo Fisher who began the "push" for FSU to leave the ACC. It was Andy Haggard.

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  4. The one thing is clear at FSU: the senior admin are incompetent. We have a lame duck AD--who was given a 1-year extension (which is unheard of) because leadership wasn't prepared. The BOT and the President are at odds about whether to stay in the ACC or leave for almost twice the $.

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  5. You know, all this stuff about conferences and money and bcs...it's just smokescreen. FSU football is about winning. You write this as if FSU fans love Jimbo and think he's done some amazing job. The guy is average at best! And Tallahassee WIne Guy hit the head in that, for years, FSU has had a group of hayseeds in Admin. The ACC is fine! In fact, it allows FSU a chance to schedule another nice OOC foe besides UF. What Jimbo and FSU need to worry about is doing their jobs to ensure that student-athletes are getting the most out of their time at FSU. Right now, they're not. Period.

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  6. Many of you say its the credentials that make you a philosopher. But don't all we post anonymously? So credentials can't be trusted especially when many lie about them inorder to win an argument or, at the very least, claim or use them to try to add credulity to their ideas and opinions.

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  7. So much for the demise of the ACC.

    LOL @ the confident talk of the raids on ACC schools.

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