Schedule Sham

Here's a story that slid under the radar. Initially, I was outraged, but after further contemplation, I realize the proper emotion is sadness.

Anytime a once proud organization crumbles to the ground, a loss is felt. When a former leader, a former innovator, a former player, someone or something that mattered becomes a pathetic laughingstock not worthy of the traditions and pride built by its predecessors, there's loss.

Take England, the former Great Britain. Once the world's master of commerce, literature, shipping and war making, the last 60 years has seen the home of Churchill and Shakespeare become an ultra-liberal cesspool overrun by undesirable immigrants and weak men unable to carry the nation's proud heritage. In another life it was the country that stopped the Nazis from total control of Western Europe, today it counts among its top exports a soccer player and his stick-figure wife.

The England of 1950 would kick the ass of the England of 2008.

Florida State has become the England of college football. In case you missed the latest chunk to fall off the once mighty castle that used to be Seminole football, let me introduce to you the FSU football schedule for the upcoming season, most specifically, the first two games

: September 6th vs. Western Carolina

September 13th vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga

Florida State, the program that finished ranked in the Top-5 14 consecutive years, the dominant college football program of an entire decade is opening its schedule with not one, but two, Division 1-AA opponents – and bad ones.

What that says about the state of Florida State football is stunning.

On the surface, the move was made because FSU will still be dealing with suspensions from the academic fraud case that has plagued it for the past couple months.

Scheduling light makes sense on its face, but look a little deeper and the message here is horrible. Firstly, by scheduling this way, FSU coaches and administrators are telling the student-athletes, "if you guys screw up, we'll bail you out and make things as easy for you as we can."

That's a great lesson for all young people to learn: succeed by taking the easiest route possible even if you have to beat up on the weaker and less gifted than yourself and when you do screw up, don't worry about paying a long term price for it because someone else – your daddy, your boss, your head coach – will always come in behind you and make it ok.


I'm not saying FSU should have gone out and scheduled USC and Texas, but there's no reason for a program that pretends to still have pride and championship aspirations to play two 1-AA teams no matter what the reason.

What about accountability? What about making those players who cheated on the tests watch the team struggle and maybe lose from the sidelines and then deal with their pissed-off teammates, friends and classmates afterward?

That's how lessons are learned. That's how boys become men. No one learns anything from beating up an overmatched opponent except that the Seminoles are a shell of their former selves.

Check out this quote from the formerly great Bobby Bowden about the schedule, "there was no easy third game to pick out because it had to be a conference team."

The man is admitting he went out to schedule easy games and not only does he have no shame for scheduling two, he wanted a third.

You don't think his selfish obsession with outliving Joe Paterno to become the winningest head coach in college football played into this decision?

Please apply another fresh layer of tarnish to Bowden's once sparkling legacy.

Beat up on the weak, avoid tough competition, pad your records with easy opponents, cover up for the brazen wrongdoings of young men… am I missing anything here?

Oh yeah, how about this: hey fans, alumni, students and particularly season ticket holders, "SCREW YOU!"

I don't suppose the FSU athletic department is charging Division 1-AA prices for those 1-AA opponents? No, while the football program covers its ass with two scrimmages, the people who support the team with their time and dollars get a couple games that don't even merit radio coverage.

Again, this is Florida State. The program of Charlie Ward, Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn. A program that built its reputation by playing anyone, anywhere, regardless of the risk. At LSU, at Nebraska, at Michigan. A program that's always prided itself on playing one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation.

From that to Western Carolina and Tennessee-Chattanooga in the span of a handful of years.

A team that was once the envy of college football for its aggressive defense, its creative and bold offense, the team that previously ruled atop the college football world is now scheduling 1-AA opponents so its dinosaur coach can achieve personal glory and so its student-athletes who were caught cheating can be covered for.

The FSU of 10 years ago would kick the ass of FSU today.

Of course this can all be traced back to the shocking lack of competency and accountability that existed in Tallahassee during the nightmare that was the Jeff Bowden-Daryl Dickey experiment. It seems their ineptness soaked so deeply into the foundation of FSU football that the team will need to be razed before it can be rebuilt.

Jeff Bowden is Fredo Corleone, a bumbling, half-wit, son of a great man whose total impotence nearly brought down an empire.

I thought the new coaching staff FSU brought in a year ago would be enough to turn the Seminoles around on a dime and while there were signs of life last season, the virus inside the Seminole body was too strong for a quick fix.

FSU football is on the rocks. Winning is always better than losing and the Seminoles have done a lot of losing lately, but lining up lambs to slaughter and padding your record with creampuffs is not the way to go about restoring pride and character to the once great program.